Men and Dogs
Little, Brown and Company, 2010
Both people and place serve in characters in this mystery which moves with the elegance and charm of a Southern drawl. As teenagers, Hannah and Palmer lost their father, Dr. Buzz Legare in a boating accident. While their Mom, Daisy, was able to move on, neither of them have quite recovered. While both are quite successful, Hannah shares an adult toys business with her husband Jon and Palmer is a veterinarian. Both have commitment issues: Hannah cannot stay faithful to her husband and Palmer’s the first vet of my acquaintance who doesn’t have a close bond with even an animal.
When Hannah returns home to Charleston to recover from a drunken accident, she comes back face-to-face with the memories of her father’s abrupt departure from their lives and seeks answers. Did her Mom actually know the man she married too quickly for Southern society after her Dad’s death prior to the accident? She’s looking for connections and finding secrets — some, she wishes she hadn’t uncovered.
Confronted with his partner’s desire to have a child, Palmer’s ready to terminate the relationship with Tom. The past haunts him–was he to blame for his father’s disappearance? But, when the relationship does fall apart, Palmer’s feeling empty and alone.
Meanwhile, we get a fascinating look at the city of Charleston itself from the culture, to the food and the accent. The novel’s steeped with Southern flavor and a slow bake in a sultry SC summer.
“Men and Dogs” has a lot to offer and delivers with typical Southern generosity. If you enjoy mysteries with a strong feeling of family and place, you’re going to want to check this one out.
Reviewed by Rebecca Kyle, March 2010.