Golden Retriever Mysteries

Do you think a dog can solve a mystery? Rochester can! All titles available in audio; for audio links, see the Audio page.

#1 In Dog We Trust

The debut of a new series with heart -- and fur!

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.

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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.

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#2 The Kingdom of Dog

Steve gets permission to bring Rochester to work at his new job-- but will a murder destroy their new opportunity?

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?

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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?

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#3 Dog Helps Those

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Steve's employer Eastern College is in trouble! Can this detective duo save the day?

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.

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#4 Dog Bless You

Steve may have a new job-- but he and Rochester are still a doggie detection duo!

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.

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#5 Whom Dog Hath Joined



Rochester is developing an unfortunate habit -- finding dead bodies!

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.

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#6 Dog Have Mercy

It's the holiday season in Stewart's Crossing -- but a killer isn't taking a vacation!

In the sixth golden retriever mystery, Dog Have Mercy, Christmas approaches and reformed hacker Steve Levitan tries to help a fellow ex-con now working at the vet's office in Stewart's Crossing. His curiosity, and the crime-solving instincts of his golden retriever, Rochester, kick in when liquid potassium ampoules are stolen from the vet and Steve's new friend is a suspect.

Is this theft connected to a drug-running operation in North Philly? Or to a recent spate of deaths at the local nursing home? And can Steve continue to resist his computer-hacking impulses or will his desire to help others continue to lead him into trouble?

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#7 Honest to Dog

The body in the canal belongs to Steve's old friend. Can Steve and Rochester uncover the clues to what happened to him?

When his college friend Doug moves to Stewart's Crossing after an ugly divorce, reformed computer hacker Steve Levitan sees a way to pay forward the help he received under similar circumstances. But when Doug dies under mysterious circumstances, Steve and his crime-solving golden retriever Rochester have a new goal: Find the truth behind Doug's death, even if Steve has to risk the freedom he has fought so hard for to do it.

Contains Ponzi schemers, a Quaker funeral and cute jump drives shaped like llamas.

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#8 Dog is in the Details


Who killed the rabbi's brother? And why?

In this eighth of the golden retriever mysteries, Steve explores a part of his background I hadn't looked at yet -- growing up Jewish in the Trenton suburbs. Since he has a lot in common with me (except for the whole divorce and imprisonment thing) it seemed logical that he'd share this part of my own heritage.

Years ago, I took my first golden, Samwise, to a blessing of the animals at our synagogue here in South Florida, and that seemed like a good place to start a new story, one that would lead Steve to explore his roots. A young man suffering from mental illness disrupts the blessing of the animals at the synagogue he attends, a congregation where he grew up and celebrated his bar mitzvah.

This starts Steve and Rochester on their newest investigation, one that will take Steve back into the past of his family, his congregation, and the Jewish population of the city where he was born.As Steve teaches a class in Jewish American literature, he and Rochester nose out suspects and dig up clues to present-day crimes-and ones in the past which still influence the living. From the rabbi's Talmud study group to a homeless shelter in Trenton, our two intrepid sleuths are on the trail of someone with deep secrets, and the will to kill to protect them.

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#9 Dog Knows

Dog Knows

Peggy was a great friend to Steve when they were teens -- Can he help her now as she faces the death penalty?

As teens, Steve admired Peggy because of the way she fought back from a difficult childhood to travel to France and aspire to a college degree and a career as a lawyer. When he discovers she’s been addicted to drugs, danced at a strip club, and married a biker, he’s surprised. How could the girl he knew grow up to be the woman the media are calling “The Black Widow of Birch Valley?”

Can he and Rochester dig up the clues that might acquit Peggy, while avoiding the slippery slope of hacking that could cause him to lose everything he cares for? Trust Rochester to keep Steve on the straight and narrow, and bring the real killer to justice.

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#10 Dog's Green Earth

The home he has made with Lili and Rochester matters deeply to Steve, enough to risk it all to bring justice to a killer in his neighborhood.

When his golden retriever Rochester discovers a body during one of their nightly walks, reformed computer hacker Steve Levitan must look to his neighbors for suspects. Could a killer be lurking along the oak-lined streets?

Steve inherited his townhome from his father, and it's more than just a house to him-it's the place where he recovered from the loss of two miscarried babies, the pain of losing his parents and the misery of his brief incarceration. Now that he has a new sweetheart, and a loving dog, protecting his home is even more important.

Could someone in the homeowner's association be sabotaging efforts to keep River Bend a well-maintained place to live? It's up to Steve and Rochester to dig up the clues to bring a murderer to justice, and protect the place they call home.

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#11 A Litter of Golden Mysteries

Everything you love about Steve and Rochester-- in quick doses!

In the first of these stories, Steve is learning to love the big, goofy golden he has inherited on the death of his neighbor, and Rochester shows him how to open his heart and his home to his sweetheart Lili.

From then on, Rochester tugs Steve along on a roller coaster of cases, from theft to murder to the discovery of an abandoned baby. Familiar characters from Stewart's Crossing drop by, including Steve's best friend, SCPD detective Rick Stemper. Of course there are a lot of opportunities for Rochester to tussle with his BFF, Rick's Aussie Rascal.

Check in with old friends like Gail Dukowski, the owner of the Chocolate Ear, and Steve's childhood piano teacher Edith Passis. Joey Capodilupo, Mark Figueroa, and their snow-white golden Brody are here, along with Lili's ex, journalist Van Dryver, who makes a surprising appearance to help out with an investigation into Amish puppy mills.

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#12 Dog Willing

Could the mom of Rochester's sweet gal pal be a cold-hearted killer?

Who could have killed bookstore owner Darlene Nowak? One of the food trucks venders she angered when they parked in front of her store? Someone from the writer's critique group she sponsored? Did a self-published author she refused to promote write her into a real murder mystery?

Steve knows that cooks and creative folks are very sensitive about criticism; but could one of them be angry enough to kill? "The golden retriever mysteries are barking good!" - Sparkle Abbey, author of the Pampered Pet mystery series

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#13 Dog's Waiting Room

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Two parents die and two families mourn, in very different ways.

Amateur sleuth Steve Levitan and his clue-sniffing golden retriever Rochester face two deaths in the 12th full-length novel in this long-running series. An Alzheimer’s patient slips away from home on his own and tumbles into the Delaware River. And then Steve’s love Lili suffers the crushing loss of her mother in a Miami Beach hospital.

Eckhardt Lalor left behind a fortune in real estate, a fractured family, and a bitter legacy as a city slumlord. Does that add up to murder? There’s no question of what killed Benita Weinstock—a dodgy heart—but her death rocks her daughter’s world, and Steve’s.

It will be up to Rochester to solve the crime and heal his humans in this new mystery with heart -- and fur!

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#14 Dog's Honest Truth

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Steve and Rochester seek the truth about a neighbor’s murder

There’s a new dog in town – a golden retriever named Luke, in training to be a seeing-eye dog. He and Rochester immediately bond, but there’s something odd about Luke’s human, Ben Ji. How can someone so young afford an expensive townhouse on Sarajevo Way? When Ben is shot, Steve begins to discover the lies he has been telling.

Steve’s also forced to tell the truth about his past, when he deals with a student plagiarist at Eastern College, a professor locked in the stone age, a climate activist with dangerous habits, an angry bartender—and a rifle-wielding assassin.

Will he and Rochester be able to dig up the clues to all these mysteries? Or will a deadly killer go unpunished?

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#15 All Dog's Children

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It doesn't take a clue-sniffing Golden Retriever's sense of smell to know something is up. 

For semi-reformed computer hacker Steve Levitan, his long-time girlfriend, Lili, is acting out of character, and he's eager to figure out why and how he can help her. But that gets delayed when Steve and his golden Rochester are brought onto investigate a double homicide in a posh neighborhood of Stewart's Crossing. 

Boris and Natalya Krimsky were both murdered in their mansion, and Steve's early forays into their personal data reveals a plethora of suspects. There are people cheated out of millions and people betrayed out of their American dream, each with a motive to kill the couple. But as Steve and Rochester delve deeper, they find that the motive to kill the couple might have a far more disturbing origin, and catching the killer requires Steve to bend all of the rules as a semi-reformed hacker. 

With wit, heart, and canine antics, the team goes nose to the ground to bring a killer to justice, and to give Steve a new perspective on what makes a family.

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Dog of Thieves (Golden Retriever Mystery #16)

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Stolen treasures, a cane-whacking elderly woman and a couple of dead bodies. Your favorite furry sleuth returns in a new adventure!

Steve Levitan and  Rochester are back in the 16th full-length novel in this long-running series. 

From a tree-removal scam artist to a museum heist, their investigations lead them on a thrilling journey from their small town in Pennsylvania to the bustling streets of New York City. They follow a trail that takes them from an elegant Fifth Avenue museum to a drop-in center for the poor and homeless on the Lower East Side.

Steve endures personal threats and makes an important decision in this latest entry in a charming series, one that readers have reacted to with deep emotion. With their unique skillset and clever wit, Steve and Rochester use their charm and humor to uncover the truth and solve the crime in this new mystery with heart—and fur.


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Kindle Unlimited Collections

If you belong to Amazon's Kindle Unlimited program, I hope you'll check out the collections I've put together of the first six golden retriever mysteries. (Of course, they're also offered for sale.)
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Golden Retriever Mysteries 1-3 includes the first three books in the series: In Dog We TrustThe Kingdom of Dog, and Dog Helps Those.

The second collection, Golden Retriever Mysteries 4-6, includes the next three: Dog Bless YouWhom Dog Hath Joined and Dog Have Mercy.

The third, Golden Retriever Mysteries 7-9, includes volumes 7,8 and 9: Honest to DogDog is in the Details, and Dog Knows.

The fourth, Golden Retriever Mysteries 10-12, includes Dog's Green EarthA Litter of Golden Mysteries, and Dog Willing.