The White Shepherd: A canine mystery set in Oxford (The Oxford Dogwalkers' Mystery)
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First in the brand-new Anna Hopkins dogwalking mystery series: an intriguing new departure for award-winning YA writer Annie Dalton.
Anna Hopkins’ daily walk through Oxford’s picturesque Port Meadow is rudely interrupted one autumn morning when her white German Shepherd, Bonnie, unearths a bloodsoaked body in the undergrowth. For Anna it’s a double shock: she’d met the victim previously. Naomi Evans was a professional researcher who had told Anna she was working on a book about a famous Welsh poet, and who offered to help Anna trace Bonnie’s original owner.
From her conversations with Naomi, Anna is convinced that she was not the random victim of a psychopathic serial killer, as the police believe. She was targeted because of what she knew. With the official investigation heading in the wrong direction entirely, Anna teams up with fellow dogwalkers Isadora Salzman and Tansy Lavelle to discover the truth.
fed Bonnie, and then unbelievably they were both hungry again, so she drove them to Xi’an in Summertown. On the way she found herself talking about her grandfather and how he was finally, in his late eighties, discovering himself as an artist. ‘You want to invite him to come eat with us?’ Jake asked at once. She shook her head. ‘He’s out visiting a friend tonight. I’d like you to meet him though if you come again. I think you’d get on.’ They hadn’t booked ahead, but Anna and her grandfather
symptoms I’d been trying so hard to ignore weren’t another manifestation of my long-term anxiety disorder or whatever my psychiatrists called it. On top of everything else I was genuinely physically ill. Unfortunately, by then it was too late.’ ‘I’m sorry,’ she said, and meant it from the bottom of her heart. ‘Don’t be.’ He smiled without a trace of self pity. ‘It turns out that being close to death brings a certain unexpected clarity. It hit me that Kit’s book was out there pedalling all these
the same about Tansy. She had seen her as inexperienced and naive, yet all the time she’d been carrying this burden. Before she turned the key in the ignition, Anna said, ‘You could have told me, you know.’ Tansy didn’t need to ask what she meant. ‘How could I? After what happened to you and your family?’ ‘Your dad didn’t murder my family in cold blood,’ Anna said. ‘No, but he did some – some really bad things, and he paid other people to do bad things.’ Tansy wrapped her arms around herself.
longing to meet you.’ Only then did she recognize the man standing beside him at the bar. As she and Huw exchanged pleasantries, she thought that finally meeting him was like seeing a fictional character come to life. Without intending to, Anna, Tansy and Isadora had collectively created a character for Owen’s son. Poor Huw. Now here he was with his oddly unmemorable features, nursing his glass of spirits and smiling at her with an expression that, with the best will in the world, Anna found
much she loved her brave beautiful dog. ‘You’ll be OK,’ she told her, putting all her love and belief into her voice. ‘Everything’s going to be OK. Just try to hang on, and I’ll get help.’ But why would someone break in and hurt Bonnie? And how had they got in? She hadn’t set the alarm. She’d been such a mess when she got home that she hadn’t set the bloody alarm. Lulled into a childlike illusion that Jake had somehow made the whole world safe, she’d slept while someone had broken into her