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Black Ribbon [Mass Market Paperback]

Susan Conant
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 1 1995 Dog Lover's Mysteries
Dog expert Holly Winter and her champion malamute, Rowdy, spend a week at Waggin' Tail Camp in Maine, where a dog owner turns up dead in a freak accident and Rowdy sets out to sniff out the guilty party. Reprint. K.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Not even the most dogged canine fancier is likely to stay the course of Conant's latest dog-world mystery, a disappointing follow-up to her well-received Ruffly Speaking. Here Holly Winter, Dog's Life columnist, heads to the Maine woods with Rowdy, her Alaskan malamute, for fun and games at Waggin' Tail, a week-long camp for the doggie set. The food and activities schedule are disappointing; most disconcerting is the presence of a dog sympathy card and pamphlets advertising pet cemeteries. Another problem is Eva, the thoroughly obnoxious owner of an untrained Labrador. Readers who quickly recognize Eva as the tale's victim will also expect her murder to be resolved and will rightfully object when Conant has the killer observe, while destroying evidence of guilt, "I hope you understand." The author's knowledge of the dog fancy and all things malamute would have been better kept on a tighter lead. As Holly herself warns the reader, "I could go on and on, and, if I'm not stopped, will probably do so at extreme length and in minute detail." Fair warning.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Pets occasionally take center ring in mysteries, but Conant's (Ruffly Speaking, LJ 3/1/94) dogs take the cake! Holly Winter, journalist for Dog's Life magazine and dog trainer par excellence, journeys on assignment-with dog Rowdy-to a luxury canine camp in Maine. Here she treats readers (or subjects them, depending on one's point of view) to descriptions and explanations of every conceivable aspect of obedience training, judging, doggy treats, American Kennel Club rules, training items, and on and on. Not until late in the plot does the "accidental" death of an obnoxious dog owner distract "campers" from their true love. For series fans.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Last year I read copy of *Ruffly Speaking* that had been given to me. Then I bought every paperback of Ms. Conant's series that was available in my town, which brought me up to *Black Ribbon*. As I read each book in order, my pleasure grew. I thought Ms. Conant well deserved to have her books come out in hardcover and have better cover designs. The main characters were engaging. It was even a "fat-friendly" series for a fat reader (5' 1/2", 214 pounds) because one of the heroine's friends was a nice, competent, chubby policeman who was putting on a few more pounds almost every book. That was refreshing. It's difficult to find positive fat characters in fiction. Most authors seem to have no qualms about making nasty remarks about their fat characters or fat people in general. (Unless the fat character is a nice person, in which case euphemisms for "fat" are used.) Apparently, authors don't care that a fat reader might find these remarks hurtful or offensive. It's no different from when books routinely had derogatory portrayals of ethnic or racial minorities in them. It's as if our extra fat means we have no right to be treated with courtesy, decency, and respect. Up until *Bloodlines*, Ms. Conant's series was delightful. I don't know what happened to the author, but she changed. Suddenly, fat was disgusting, if not evil. This was a shock. I reread *Ruffly Speaking*. As I recall, Holly's friend stopped being chubby without any explanation. However, aside from a nasty description of a very fat female spectator at a dog show, there was nothing offensive. So I went ahead and read *Black Ribbon*. Ms. Conant now seems to actually hate fat people. In this new version of Holly Winter's world, if you're fat, you can't be nice. Read more ›
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3.0 out of 5 stars One of her best Oct. 10 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was one of the best of the dog mystery series that Conant has written. Of course, the reader simply must love dogs more than anything in order to enjoy these books because they are filled with lectures on dog-training, raising, showing - just about anything to do with dogs.
This book was better than others simply because it included more information about other people and pets rather than dwelling on Malamutes (which is a marvelous breed, don't get me wrong).
It also contained more mystery than dog information, which doesn't happen often in Conant's books. This little detail has never stopped me from reading everything she writes.
She is great if you love dogs and just want a book to occupy your time - but not take over your life until you finish.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Let's NOT get to the point March 4 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It's kinda funny how I was introduced to Holly. My girlfriend, Kimmie, really enjoys reading and she would read to me on our one and a half hour trip to work each day. We stared with Susans first Malamute book and proceeded in order. I finished "Black Ribbon" this week and was extrememly dissapointed. All Holly did was complain about camp Waggin' Tail. Basically all of the characters were made out to be a thorn in her side. None of the "regular" characters had any significant roles. It took me a long time to finish the book, because it just did not keep my attention. I just ordered "Evil Breeding". If it is as boring as "Black Ribbon", I won't be buying anymore "Holly" books.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A little dissappointing March 29 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've read many of the Susan Conant books, but this one I could barely finish, it was sort of boring actually. It seems to me that Holly Winter seems sort of like a lazy like character. Whenever someone insults her, she does nothing.
She doesn't seem to show any affection or teddy bear love for her two malamutes. She feeds them and makes sure they don't fight, but other than that she does nothing. I don't think that I've ever read a Susan Conant book where Holly sits down, praises her dogs, and tells them that she loves them. She does a lot with the dogs, but shows little or no "loving care" for her dogs.
A dog is not an object that can be dissmissed as Holly does.
This book is very slow going.
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2.0 out of 5 stars She's no Agatha Christie Nov. 5 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
After seeking out and buying the entire Holly Winter series, this one -- my first hardcover purchase -- was the one that put me off the series for several years. Agatha Christie originally became famous by breaking one of the cardinal rules of the whodunnit (whoever is the murderer, it's NOT the narrator). In this book Conant breaks a different but even more important rule of the genre, which makes the entire novel pointless. I have not been so unhappy with a novel in this genre since Robert Goldsborough's faux 'Nero Wolfe' novel where the killer commits suicide halfway through the book, and the book continues on anyway. Later volumes in the Holly series recover some of the old magic, but this one is almost a total loss.
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