Although this latest Reigning Cats & Dogs mystery is not author Baxter's best effort, Long Island vet Jessica Popper remains an irresistible character.

After a routine visit to the stables of a wealthy polo enthusiast, Jessica suspects the owner's top-rated player may have been poisoned. A newspaper reporter talks her into teaming up to figure out who committed the crime. Meanwhile, Jessica's personal life gets crowded when her law school lover Nick moves in and she adopts yet another pet.

The identity of the poisoner is not as surprising as it could be, and hints pointing to a romantic triangle lead nowhere. Also, the scenes with Jessica's pets are too repetitive to fully engage the reader. Still, it's a delight to watch Jessica in action. She uses keen intelligence to solve crimes, empathy and skill to treat animals and a sense of humor to offset romantic angst. (Jun., 368 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Cindy Harrison