Neil Plakcy's Golden Retriever Mysteries

I love dogs -- and dog mysteries. So it seemed natural to me to write a dog mystery myself, which is how I first began writing about Rochester and Steve.

When Rochester the golden retriever first comes into Steve Levitan's life, he's just too big, too shaggy, too wild. Steve's just taking him in, after all, for a short time, and as a favor to his high school friend, the local cop who's investigating the murder of the dog's owner.

But very quickly, Rochester has found a place in Steve's heart and begun to demonstrate his unique crimes-solving skills. Check out the dog mysteries in the series below!


In Dog We Trust (#1) The Kingdom of Dog (#2)
Dog Helps Those (#3) Dog Bless You (#4)
Whom Dog Hath Joined (#5)  

In Dog We Trust

42-year-old Steve Levitan has lost everything that matters to him - his marriage, his home and his career. After finishing a brief prison term for computer hacking, he returns to his home town of Stewart's Crossing, PA with his tail between his legs.

With his parole officer peering over his shoulder, Steve begins a technical writing business and takes a part-time job as an adjunct professor of English at his alma mater, Eastern College. He reconnects with an old friend, the local police detective, hangs out at a coffee shop, and enjoys the natural beauty of Bucks County and the stimulating college environment. Starting over helps him numb the pain of all he's lost, including the two unborn children his ex-wife miscarried before their divorce.
The last thing he needs in his life is a shaggy, bossy golden retriever. But when his next-door neighbor, Caroline Kelly, is murdered, Steve becomes her dog's temporary guardian. Rochester seems determined to solve the mystery of Caroline's death, digging up clues and pushing Steve to investigate. As they nose through Caroline's past, her friends and her career searching for motives, the bond between man and dog grows.

But it's only when Steve uncovers a connection between Caroline's death and some uncomfortable situations between his students and his colleagues that Steve realizes that in order to save his own life, and the life of the dog he's come to love, he's going to have to come face to face with a killer with nothing left to lose.
Available in Kindle edition from Amazon.com, as a Nook book from B&N, in print from Amazon's Create Space, and in other e-formats from Smashwords and at almost any online e-book retailer. The audio version is available from Audible.com and you can click here to listen to a sample. And by the way, the golden on the cover is my beloved Samwise, whose antics first inspired Rochester.

The Kingdom of Dog

The Kingdom of Dog picks up a few months after the end of In Dog We Trust. Eastern College is about to launch a $500 million fund-raising campaign, and Steve has been hired to handle the campaign's public relations. It's a full-time job, though only for a short term. He gets permission from his new boss to bring Rochester to work every day.

The launch party for the campaign is a great success - until Rochester discovers a dead body in the snow outside the building.

To prevent a public relations fiasco, Steve is plunged into finding out who killed the cantankerous director of admissions, with the help of his shaggy Sherlock.
Joe Dagorian had a long history with the College, and Steve and Rochester begin to dig up secrets that might be better kept buried. But is one of them worth killing for?

Could the killer be Joe's ex-wife, whose retirement plans were thwarted? The student assistant who could lose everything because of an indiscretion? Or the wealthy alumnus who's desperate to get his son admitted to Eastern?

Why are those two football players - Juan Tanamera and Jose Canusi - always hanging around? And what connection does a homeless man in town have to the College - and the case?

Rochester begins to present clues to Steve-- a bloody knife, an incriminating letter, some curious photographs. Dad and dog follow leads around the Bucks County countryside, digging into the past and disturbing old ghosts.

Will Steve's curiosity and Rochester's savvy save them when the killer comes calling? Order it in Kindle version here, as a Nook book from B&N in other e-formats from Smashwords and at almost any online e-book retailer, and as a paperback here. The audio is now available from Audible; click here to listen to a sample.

Dog Helps Those

It's almost time for graduation, and Eastern College is in trouble. A prominent alumna is dead, and a faulty computer program is jeopardizing student records and financial aid. It's up to Steve and Rochester to dig into the situation and retrieve the culprits!

Rita Gaines wasn't a nice person-but she did love her dogs, and most of her clients respected her financial acumen and her talent in training dogs for agility trials. When she's found dead, there's a long line of potential suspects from Wall Street whiz kids to doting doggie daddies-- including one of Steve's former students.
Felae is an art prodigy now studying with Steve's girlfriend, Lili, chair of Eastern's Fine Arts department, and Rita hated his controversial senior project. When she tried to have his scholarship cancelled, he threatened to kill her. But is he the villain behind her death?

In between helping Steve's high school friend Rick track the killer, Rochester practices darting around weave poles and jumping over limbo poles while Steve helps shepherd the college toward the completion of another academic year. It's spring in Stewart's Crossing, and old friends - and their dogs-gather together to investigate and eventually, to celebrate. Order it in Kindle version here, as a Nook book from Barnes & Noble, in other e-formats from Smashwords and at almost any online e-book retailer, or as a paperback.

Dog Bless You

Autumn has come to Bucks County, and Steve Levitan has a new job: develop a conference center for Eastern College at Friar Lake, a few miles from campus. But on his first visit to the property, his golden retriever Rochester makes a disturbing discovery, a human hand rising from the dirt at the lake's shore.

Whose hand is it? Why was the body buried there? The answers will take Steve, his photographer girlfriend Lili, and the ever-faithful Rochester to a drop-in center for recovering drug addicts on the Lower East Side, a decaying church in Philadelphia's Germantown, and finally to a confrontation with a desperate killer. Order it in Kindle version here, as a Nook book from Barnes & Noble, in other e-formats from Smashwords and at almost any online e-book retailer. And if you prefer the paperback you can order it from Amazon.

Whom Dog Hath Joined

Reformed computer hacker Steve Levitan still gets a thrill from snooping into places online where he shouldn't be. When his golden retriever Rochester discovers a human bone at the Friends Meeting during the Harvest Days festival, these two unlikely sleuths are plunged into another investigation.

They will uncover uncomfortable secrets about their small town's past as they dig deep into the Vietnam War era, when local Quakers helped draft resisters move through Stewart's Crossing on their way to Canada. Does that bone Rochester found belong to one of those young men fleeing conscription? Or to someone who knew the secrets that lurked behind those whitewashed walls?
Steve's got other problems, too. His girlfriend Lili wants to move in with him, and his matchmaking efforts among his friends all seem to be going haywire.

Whether the death was due to natural causes, or murder, someone in the present wants to keep those secrets hidden. And Steve and Rochester may end up in the crosshairs of a very antique rifle if they can't dig up the clues quickly enough. Amazon has the ebook and print versions, while Barnes & Noble and Smashwords sell the ebook.

Audio Books

I'm in the process of creating audio versions of many of my books, starting with the golden retriever mysteries and the Have Body, Will Guard series. All books shown are available through Audible.

First of the golden retriever mysteries. Steve and Rochester meet and begin their crime-solving partnership by investigating the death of Rochester's former owner.
Click here to listen to the audio sample. Click here to purchase from Audible.
#2. Steve takes an administrative job at Eastern College, and during the kickoff for the College's fund-raising campaign, Steve's mentor is murdered.
Click here to listen to the audio sample. Click here to purchase from Audible.

#3. When a college benefactor is murdered, Steve and Rochester join the world of agility training to track her killer.
Click here to listen to the audio sample. Click here to purchase from Audible.
#4. Steve's new job is at Friar Lake, a college conference center, where Rochester discovers a dead body.
Click here to listen to the audio sample. Click here to purchase from Audible.


Here's a map I commissioned of the part of Bucks County featured in the books.

Those who know the area will recognize Bowman's Tower, the state capitol building in Trenton, and the old library in Yardley.

I've taken some liberties, of course, placing my fictional towns of Stewart's Crossing and Leighville.


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My golden retriever mysteries have been inspired by my own goldens, Samwise, Brody and Griffin. A native of Bucks County, PA, where the books are set, I am a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University and Florida International University, where I received my MFA in creative writing. I have written and edited many other books; details can be found at my other website, http://www.mahubooks.com.

I live with my partner, Brody and Griffin in South Florida, where I am working on the next mystery in the series, and Brody and Griffin are busy wreaking havoc somewhere in the house.