I finished reading this gem over the weekend. What a great find! I found The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club here on Book Club Reading List.
A unique and comedic murder-mystery story by Duncan Whitehead, The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club (GLDWC) features a wide variety of vibrant characters. In a quiet neighborhood deep in the old south in Savannah, three widowed southern belles enjoy their afternoons with a drink in the local park, letting their dogs get some exercise, and catching up on the most current local gossip. Mr Whitehead paints a detailed story of the residents of Gordonston, whose individual tales connect in unimaginable and delightfully entertaining ways. The first chapter introduces an assassin, lurking in the very park in which the old widows gossip, poised and ready to take out his next target. As we learn about the local inhabitants, their lies, hatred, and secrets, we are left to wonder who will be the target and who is responsible for murder.
There are so many strengths to this book! It starts strong and is continually compelling straight through the end.
Good hook intro
As mentioned above, the first chapter pulls the reader in with a scene depicting an assassin getting ready to make his kill. I was immediately hooked and anxious to delve further into the story.
Strong, clear, and descriptive writing
The writing throughout GLDWC is rock-solid. The imagery is clear and concise, drawing the reader into the characters’ worlds. The following quote was one that I especially enjoyed:
“It was the kind of smile reserved for those who had seen all of life’s rich and diversified tapestries. It was the smile of knowledge, the smile of experience, the knowing smile that only the special among the aged can produce.” (page 41)
With such a large cast of characters, I’d imagine that it would be difficult to persuade the reader to care and really get to know each one. In GLDWC, each character has a rich back-story, complete with families and relationships. My favorite character is Elliott. He has a fascinating history and seems to be a genuinely decent guy, but gets tangled up in some nasty drama with the neighbors. Before the present setting, he lived in Argentina just before getting married and met a very intriguing person. This mystery gentleman made an impressive impact on Elliott’s life. As a gift, he left Elliott an autographed book he said was his original work. It was entitled Mein Kampf. Wowza! Did Elliott actually meet Hitler??? Perhaps an alternate-reality version where he didn’t actually die at the end of World War 2 but escaped and somehow turned into a good person. He leaves Elliott his book with this quote:
“Do not judge me for what I was then, but for what I am now.” (page 50)
I feel like I have to really stretch to come up with any critical cons to this book. It truly was fantastic. The only negative I could maybe say is the pace felt a little slow in places. I was anxious for more clues to help me decide who was going to be murdered. However, I acknowledge that the developed stories are probably springboards for further plot in the following sequels. Getting to know the characters thoroughly required a little patience as a reader, but ultimately resulted in a strength for the book.
What a delightful read! I loved getting to know the characters and their drama. There is a clever humor throughout the story that I especially enjoyed. Overall, I am itching to get my hands on the next two parts of the trilogy! Go get your own copy here!! 5 out of 5 stars
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Buy it here from Book Club Reading List
Find it here on Goodreads