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Fifty-Four Pigs: A Dr. Bannerman Vet Mystery

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For readers of Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series comes a lighthearted mystery with an incredible sense of place A swine barn explodes near a lakeside Manitoba town, putting veterinarian Dr. Peter Bannerman on a collision course with murder and a startling conspiracy. Peter is an odd duck, obsessed with logic and measurable facts, an obsession h For readers of Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series comes a lighthearted mystery with an incredible sense of place A swine barn explodes near a lakeside Manitoba town, putting veterinarian Dr. Peter Bannerman on a collision course with murder and a startling conspiracy. Peter is an odd duck, obsessed with logic and measurable facts, an obsession he puts to good use in his veterinary practice. When a murder is connected to the swine barn explosion and his friend Tom becomes the prime suspect, Peter feels compelled to put his reasoning skills, and his dog Pippin's remarkable nose, to use to help clear him. The situation darkens with a second murder and a series of break-ins, including at Peter's house and clinic, but Peter has a hard time knowing when he is out of his depth, despite warnings from his brother-in-law Kevin, an RCMP officer. It becomes increasingly clear that something extraordinary is behind all this, possibly international in scope. Ultimately Peter finds himself out in the middle of frozen Lake Winnipeg during a blizzard, fighting for his life and confronting a horrifying realization he had been blind to all along.


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For readers of Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series comes a lighthearted mystery with an incredible sense of place A swine barn explodes near a lakeside Manitoba town, putting veterinarian Dr. Peter Bannerman on a collision course with murder and a startling conspiracy. Peter is an odd duck, obsessed with logic and measurable facts, an obsession h For readers of Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series comes a lighthearted mystery with an incredible sense of place A swine barn explodes near a lakeside Manitoba town, putting veterinarian Dr. Peter Bannerman on a collision course with murder and a startling conspiracy. Peter is an odd duck, obsessed with logic and measurable facts, an obsession he puts to good use in his veterinary practice. When a murder is connected to the swine barn explosion and his friend Tom becomes the prime suspect, Peter feels compelled to put his reasoning skills, and his dog Pippin's remarkable nose, to use to help clear him. The situation darkens with a second murder and a series of break-ins, including at Peter's house and clinic, but Peter has a hard time knowing when he is out of his depth, despite warnings from his brother-in-law Kevin, an RCMP officer. It becomes increasingly clear that something extraordinary is behind all this, possibly international in scope. Ultimately Peter finds himself out in the middle of frozen Lake Winnipeg during a blizzard, fighting for his life and confronting a horrifying realization he had been blind to all along.

30 review for Fifty-Four Pigs: A Dr. Bannerman Vet Mystery

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Walsh

    I want to extend my sincere thanks to NetGalley and ECW Press for this ARC in return for an honest review. Fifty-four Pigs was written by Dr. Philipp Schott and is the first in the Dr. Peter Bannerman Vet Mysteries. Dr. Schott has many years of experience as a veterinarian and is now chief of staff at a large animal hospital in Winnipeg. He has written a couple of books featuring essays and anecdotes about his experiences in his clinical practice. I was pleased to learn there will be a second bo I want to extend my sincere thanks to NetGalley and ECW Press for this ARC in return for an honest review. Fifty-four Pigs was written by Dr. Philipp Schott and is the first in the Dr. Peter Bannerman Vet Mysteries. Dr. Schott has many years of experience as a veterinarian and is now chief of staff at a large animal hospital in Winnipeg. He has written a couple of books featuring essays and anecdotes about his experiences in his clinical practice. I was pleased to learn there will be a second book featuring Dr. Bannerman and his mysteries. The setting is a small town on the shoreline of Lake Winnipeg with its extremely chilling winter temperatures. The book got off to a slow start, establishing the area's history where Dr. Bannerman lives and practices. The earliest settlers were Icelanders, followed by Finns. Then came an assorted mix of other nationalities. Dr. Bannerman is a proficient, capable, and caring vet, well respected and liked by pet owners. He is a veterinarian not only to pets but also to farm animals. To many in the small Manitoba town, he is considered odd. It is apparent that he has obsessive-compulsive issues and some aspects of autism. He has difficulty socializing and reading people. He does feel emotions but submerges them with rational, logical thinking. He is obsessed with order, numbers, puzzles and lists. Because he has an eye for detail that others miss, he is inclined to use his spare time acting as an unofficial detective. He uses his reasoning skills to solve mysterious puzzles connected with crimes. His interference results in annoyance and anger from his brother-in-law, Kevin, an RCMP officer. Dr. Bannerman's wife usually agrees with her brother, fearing that her husband's obsessions and intrusions into crime-solving will end in danger. Dr. Peter Bannerman's wife has a thriving knitting business at home, with logos on her products catering to fans of Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, etc. I found the beginning of the story quite disturbing. An explosive device has been detonated at Tom's farm. All 54 pigs were killed in the resulting fire. Peter considers Tom a friend but has barely socialized with him lately. He feels fondly towards Tom for protecting him from bullies when they were schoolmates. RCMP officer, Kevin, plans to arrest Tom for starting the fire. This is crucial because a dead person's body is found amongst the remains of the pigs. There are mysterious break-ins where meat is stolen from freezers but little else of value. Dr. Peter Bannerman is determined to use his reasoning skills and his intelligent, lovable sniffer-dog, Pippin, to prove Tom's innocence. Tom has vanished from the community. Peter's home and vet clinic have been broken into and those of others. Peter has seen a mysterious figure lurking at his yard's darkened and wooded edge. There has been another murder. Is Tom hiding from the law or from the killer, or has he been murdered? What is the killer/or killers looking for, and why is meat being stolen? What is the meaning of a coded note written in Korean? Both Dr. Bannerman's wife and her Mountie brother have been correct in warning him of danger, but he is determined to find Tom or his body. This takes Dr. Bannerman and Pippin out on the ice in search of answers. He is in extreme danger, followed, chased, shot at, knocked out, and tied up in a freezing ice fishing shack. He now knows the answers for the criminal activity, but will he live long enough to reveal them? He realizes that the many theories that he and Kevin bantered about in the beginning were wrong and how little he understands other people. This book has been considered a cozy mystery, but it has complex, international implications. It vividly describes the sub-zero temperatures of the area, the blizzards, and the ways the people cope with the brutal winters. I am looking forward to reading the second book in the series, 'Six Ostriches.'

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Dr Peter Bannerman, a veterinarian in a small town on the shores of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, is out making a visit to a bovine patient when he hears an explosion at his friend Tom’s nearby piggery. Arriving at the property, he sees that the pig barn, along with all 54 pigs is on fire and there is nothing he can do to save them. Peter’s brother in law Kevin, an RCMP officer is in charge of the investigation and when a human body is found amongst the remains of the pigs, Tom becomes his number o Dr Peter Bannerman, a veterinarian in a small town on the shores of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, is out making a visit to a bovine patient when he hears an explosion at his friend Tom’s nearby piggery. Arriving at the property, he sees that the pig barn, along with all 54 pigs is on fire and there is nothing he can do to save them. Peter’s brother in law Kevin, an RCMP officer is in charge of the investigation and when a human body is found amongst the remains of the pigs, Tom becomes his number one suspect, especially after Tom disappears. Peter has known Tom since high school when he used to protect him from bullying and considers him a friend. He doesn’t believe Tom could murder anyone, let alone kill his pigs to cover it up. Since Peter is good at solving mysteries and puzzles he decides to help clear his name by following up his own hunches with the help of his dog Pippin who he has trained to pick up scents. He has to be secretive about what he is doing as both his wife and Kevin know he can become obsessed with solving mysteries and warn him he’ll be in danger if he meddles too much. Once I got used to the narrator’s style, I really enjoyed this audiobook. Peter is a quirky character, who loves logic and facts, tea brewed for exact amounts of time (depending on the type, of course), LOTR (his pets are all named after characters), walking to work, even in winter when it’s -25C. He has a comfortable life with his wife, who has a successful knitting business making garments for movie fans featuring LOTR, Starwars, Harry Potter and Pokémon characters. Peter's veterinary practice is also full of interesting and amusing characters, both animal and human and forms a delightful backdrop to the murder mystery. It was also interesting to learn about the Icelandic history of the area and details of how people live in such a cold climate. Peter does manage to get himself into quite a lot of trouble before the case is solved during an exciting climax during a blizzard. Hopefully we’ll get to see more of his exploits in his next mystery. with thanks to ECW Press and Netgalley for a copy of the audiobook

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore

    My thanks to ECW Press and NetGalley for a review copy of this book. Fifty-Four Pigs is the first in a series of mysteries by veterinarian and author, Dr Philipp Schott, a volume of whose nonfiction memoirs I had the chance to read and review some moths ago, and which I enjoyed very much. So of course, when I saw this book on NetGalley—a mystery with lots of animals and a veterinarian as detective, of course I had to request. The series is set in New Selfoss, a small town in Manitoba with a mostl My thanks to ECW Press and NetGalley for a review copy of this book. Fifty-Four Pigs is the first in a series of mysteries by veterinarian and author, Dr Philipp Schott, a volume of whose nonfiction memoirs I had the chance to read and review some moths ago, and which I enjoyed very much. So of course, when I saw this book on NetGalley—a mystery with lots of animals and a veterinarian as detective, of course I had to request. The series is set in New Selfoss, a small town in Manitoba with a mostly Icelandic-origin population, and this first book opens right in the midst of winter (when -10oC is described as an (almost) ‘balmy day’ …). Dr Peter Bannerman is a forty-year-old veterinarian, running a small practice in New Selfoss, where he sees both ‘pets’ and farm animals. He is married to Laura, who knits sweaters, scarves and such with Star Trek, Harry Potter, LOTR and other themes and designs, while Laura’s brother Kevin is in the local police. Peter is rather idiosyncratic—a tea aficionado (whose teas must be brewed with precise timings)—obsessed with facts and measurements (random will never suffice), and proceeding logically on everything; as described in the blurb, ‘an odd duck’. He is certainly intelligent, but has his limitations and sometimes can get in over his head. He (and also Laura) do like their Lord of the Rings for the family pets include—Pippin the dog (with an excellent nose, and who’s been in competitions), Merry the cat (a tortie), and Gandalf the goat! In this mystery, Peter is on his way to see a cow with a cut in her leg, when he sees an explosion on his friend Tom’s pig farm. When he heads there, he finds the entire barn is destroyed, and with it all fifty-four pigs. But when Kevin and other police arrive, they find not fifty-four, but fifty-five remains, the last an unidentified human being. Peter, who has solved a few mysteries before, is tempted to investigate, not being too impressed with the intelligence of the local police, and this urge becomes stronger when they begin to suspect Tom, who has been Peter’s friend since high school. In carrying out his investigations, Peter relies not only on his logical thinking and reasoning but also on Pippin’s nose, for there is nothing better when something must be tracked down. But as Philipp begins to uncover some information and clues, he soon finds that he can’t investigate the case without putting himself (and his family) in danger. Alongside, we also get a look into Peter’s practice as he sees different patients every day and grapples with small and big problems. This was quite an enjoyable read for me with a great sense of place, an interesting set of characters, a good mystery at its core, and a great background in Peter’s veterinary practice. I loved the setting of this one—while the town itself, New Selfoss, is fictional, the broader place with Gimli in Manitoba which had Canada’s first Icelandic settlers is very much real. I had no idea that there was an Icelandic community in Canada, let alone that it was the largest outside of Iceland, so it was interesting to learn about the community and place. (I assume the LOTR connection with Gimli is coincidental, but nonetheless good fun). Since the mystery opens in winter, we also get an idea of the extreme temperatures in which people seem to live quite ‘normally’—Peter himself walks to work—much to my surprise (shock?--I’ve lived in a place where it snowed, so I can take some cold, but -25oC!!!), but on the other hand, one also gets to live in a place quite close to nature, and see aurora borealis! The author has done a great job incorporating Peter’s veterinary practice with his investigative activities—this is done in a completely believable way, so it isn’t that Peter is leaving aside his practice to investigate or vice versa, but he manages to accommodate both comfortably. The details are clearly drawn from Dr Schott’s own experiences and interesting to read of in themselves (one point at least I did recognise from his memoirs). It was all the more so since Peter sees not only pets, but also farm animals. Being a first-in-series, we also get some insights into and introduction of Peter and his family, the others working in his practice, as also some of the residents (human and animal) in New Selfoss, whom we will see more of in subsequent books. I liked that Peter comes across as a realistic character—he is intelligent certainly, and perhaps more so than the Police as he likes to believe, but not infallible either, which means he needs the police as well. Also, his idiosyncrasies can certainly rub people the wrong way, including poor Kevin. One has also got to love Pippin, the dog, who certainly has a marvellous nose but even without it would be a jolly dog to have. The mystery itself was also enjoyable; it is a slow-paced one, the kind where one follows Peter as he gathers clues and comes across information from different sources, and tries to form a picture alongside, but not I guess the kind we could work out in advance; the solution eventually fully became clear only at the end, and some parts do certainly shock Peter himself. I don’t know if I’d classify it as a cosy since there was a bit of gore, and the opening with the fifty-four pigs having to die was pretty upsetting. But I enjoyed this one very much, and the title of the next book, Six Ostriches, and small excerpt at the end have certainly left me anticipating it. 4.25 stars

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah-Hope

    Philipp Schott's Fifty-Four Pigs, the fist volume in the Dr. Bannerman Veterinary mystery series, offers not just an engaging read, but also hopes that the series will continue, bringing a generous future of continuing entertainment. The characters are what really make this novel shine, but the mystery is solid (though I admit to figuring out certain plot elements before the author apparently intended). Peter Bannerman, the man at the heart of this series, is the sort of man one might label as " Philipp Schott's Fifty-Four Pigs, the fist volume in the Dr. Bannerman Veterinary mystery series, offers not just an engaging read, but also hopes that the series will continue, bringing a generous future of continuing entertainment. The characters are what really make this novel shine, but the mystery is solid (though I admit to figuring out certain plot elements before the author apparently intended). Peter Bannerman, the man at the heart of this series, is the sort of man one might label as "on the spectrum": more comfortable with animals than people, very set in his routines, unable to give up on a question or problem once he's conceived of it. Among the problems that catch his interest are crimes within the small community he's part of. Fifty-Four Pigs is the first volume in the series, but not the first time that Bannerman has gone detecting—much to the frustration of his brother-in-law, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (the brother-in-law also happens to be gay, a potentially engaging addition to the cast of characters, though his affectional orientation doesn't play a role in this novel). The mystery begins with the explosion of a pig barn belonging to Peter Bannerman's friend Tom. Then, human remains are found in the wreckage from the explosion. Tom becomes the primary suspect in this disaster, so Peter (with the help of his dog Pippin) commits himself to exonerating his friend, gradually tying himself into a series of "white lies" as his investigation continues. If you enjoy quirky mysteries with engaging casts of characters, this is a book you'll want to read—sooner, rather than later. I'm looking forward to spending more time with Peter and the interesting community he's part of. I received a free review copy of this title from the publisher; the opinions are my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Donna Davis

    3.75 stars, rounded upward. Fifty-Four Pigs is the first in the Dr. Bannerman vet mystery series, set in a tiny town in Manitoba, Canada. My thanks go to Net Galley and ECW for the audio review copy. This book is for sale now. Peter Bannerman is a quirky guy, a rural veterinarian with particular tastes and a fierce loyalty to his friends. When his good buddy Tom’s barn is torched in the middle of the night, killing all 54 of his pigs and leaving behind a mysterious human corpse, the Mounties wan 3.75 stars, rounded upward. Fifty-Four Pigs is the first in the Dr. Bannerman vet mystery series, set in a tiny town in Manitoba, Canada. My thanks go to Net Galley and ECW for the audio review copy. This book is for sale now. Peter Bannerman is a quirky guy, a rural veterinarian with particular tastes and a fierce loyalty to his friends. When his good buddy Tom’s barn is torched in the middle of the night, killing all 54 of his pigs and leaving behind a mysterious human corpse, the Mounties want to question him, but he’s nowhere to be found. Has Tom been killed? Kidnapped? Perhaps he’s on the run, panic-stricken. Peter is eager to try out his amateur sleuthing skills on this case; Kevin, his brother-in-law as well as the local law enforcer, is equally eager that he should not. Yet, Peter is concerned that his friend, whom he knows to be a decent, peaceable soul, could never commit murder, and who surely wouldn’t harm his own pigs. If he doesn’t clear Tom’s name, who will? This novel is a cozy mystery, despite all the dead porkers (about whom there is blessedly little detail.) It’s humorous in places, and is already building a budding fan base. I love Peter’s dogs, Merry and Pippin; the latter goes just about everywhere with him, and is helpful when push comes to shove. Some of the vet cases make me snicker out loud; I’m gardening as I listen, and hope the neighbors won’t think I’ve lost my mind, all alone and cackling in my lettuce bed. As for me, I find the first half to be a bit on the slow side, with more extraneous details that aren’t directly relevant to the story than I would prefer. However, I usually am not a cozy mystery lover, either. The second half of the story ramps up the suspense and the intrigue, and when Bannerman heads out to the ice fishermen’s shacks with a storm in the immediate forecast, it’s impossible to put this book down. The audio is performed by actor Miles Meili, and I find his narrative to be an acquired taste; he tends to sound wryly amused even during the serious parts of the story, and during the first half, I wish wholeheartedly for a print version to refer to. However, once the excitement begins, I can’t think about anybody except poor Peter, who’s out there in that raging storm, and so Mr. Meili’s stylized delivery no longer distracts me. The ending is hilarious. I recommend this book to cozy readers, and I do lean toward the print version, but if you are an audio-or-nothing reader, go ahead and get it in the form you love best.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Wanda Pedersen

    Thank you ECW Press for sending me an advance reader copy of this novel. I've had mixed results with ARCs in the past, so I was both excited and apprehensive to receive this mystery from a small Canadian press. From the first page, I was hooked. Now the publicist that contacted me had no way to know that I grew up on a hog farm on the Canadian prairies. Just knowing that a pig barn is the place where the plot begins was exciting to me. (Other people may find that their mileage varies on this issue Thank you ECW Press for sending me an advance reader copy of this novel. I've had mixed results with ARCs in the past, so I was both excited and apprehensive to receive this mystery from a small Canadian press. From the first page, I was hooked. Now the publicist that contacted me had no way to know that I grew up on a hog farm on the Canadian prairies. Just knowing that a pig barn is the place where the plot begins was exciting to me. (Other people may find that their mileage varies on this issue). It also helped that I've always been interested in Iceland and the Icelandic community in Manitoba. This is a cozy mystery, with plenty of tea drinking and dog walking. Our main character, Dr. Peter Bannerman, is a veterinarian with a mixed practice of pets and farm animals. He's kind of an inflexible guy, keeping an extremely regular schedule, with definite rational beliefs, and he's a bit clued out about regular irrational human behaviour. This gets him into trouble sometimes when he misinterprets the folks around him. Despite the cozy label, there are serious crimes committed and Peter admits to being curious as a cat. This gets him in hot water with his brother-in-law, an RCMP officer. Not to mention his wife. I quite enjoyed this mystery, despite the fact that the pigs don't feature as much as I'd hoped, judging by the title. The author himself is a vet and he has written nonfiction books about his profession. If I wasn't already snowed under with a huge TBR, I would request one of these from our public library. There's a second mystery in the works (Six Ostriches) and I'll be keeping an eye out for it. This book will be available on April 19, 2022. My dad feeding the sows on our family farm

  7. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    Fifty-four Pigs is the first book in the Dr Bannerman Vet Mystery series by Canadian veterinarian and author, Philipp Schott. Due to his hyperrational brain and his eye for detail, veterinarian Dr Peter Bannerman has a bit of a reputation in his Manitoba hometown of New Selfoss. He quite likes being thought of as a quasi-PI, and has solved a mystery or two, to the occasional embarrassment of the local RCMP. So an explosion and fire, practically in front of his eyes, at his friend Tom Pearson’s p Fifty-four Pigs is the first book in the Dr Bannerman Vet Mystery series by Canadian veterinarian and author, Philipp Schott. Due to his hyperrational brain and his eye for detail, veterinarian Dr Peter Bannerman has a bit of a reputation in his Manitoba hometown of New Selfoss. He quite likes being thought of as a quasi-PI, and has solved a mystery or two, to the occasional embarrassment of the local RCMP. So an explosion and fire, practically in front of his eyes, at his friend Tom Pearson’s pig barn has him intrigued. Tom believes it’s the animal liberationists who have been sending threatening emails about his bear hunting activities, but Peter’s brother-in-law, RCMP corporal Kevin Gudmundurson reveals there was a human corpse in with Tom’s fifty-four pigs. They come up with theories about it, but soon after, Peter and Laura’s house is broken into. Some valuables are gone, but the bizarre aspect is that the thieves emptied their freezer of meat. Is this somehow related to Tom’s fire? Outside of his usual work at the New Selfoss Veterinary Services clinic, Peter likes to drink perfectly-brewed tea, forest bathe, walk the frozen lake and scent train Pippin, his lab-husky-border-collie mix, who has proved himself as a champion scent dog in various competitions. Even though the RCMP mark Tom as a suspect, especially when he suddenly disappears, Peter is convinced his friend is innocent of any wrongdoing, actually surprising himself by leaning away from his usual logic and towards loyalty, to try to prove this. It turns out that body in the barn is murder victim and, in fairly quick succession, another break-in, a brutal murder, and a pursuit through the forest by the probable killer, result in warnings by Kevin and pleas from Laura to leave the investigating to the police. But when he’s objective, Peter can see it’s like an addiction for him, stubborn intellectual pride, “a compulsion to solve a problem himself and reaffirm to the world that Peter Bannerman was indeed the cleverest boy in the class”. Pippin (via nose) ably assists in proving a few of his suspicions, but it’s when he and Pippin are out on the frozen lake in a blizzard, being chased over ice and snow by a gunman, that he realises the error of an early assumption. In a cleverly-plotted cosy mystery that stars a quirky protagonist with an equally quirky cast of support characters, Schott manages to include a pair of bear poachers, a mystery watcher, an elusive black F150 truck, an enigmatic scrap of paper filled with Hangul, a number of interesting veterinary consults, and a smart, heroic dog. Plenty of intrigue and a good helping of humour lead up to an exciting climax. Schott does include a soapbox moment on boutique grain-free dog food, a subject about which he is clearly passionate. More of Peter Bannerman and Pippin is most definitely welcome: luckily Dr Bannerman Vet Mystery #2: Six Ostriches will follow. hopefully soon. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and ECW Press

  8. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    Fifty-four Pigs is the first book in the Dr Bannerman Vet Mystery series by Canadian veterinarian and author, Philipp Schott. The audio version is narrated by Miles Meili. Due to his hyperrational brain and his eye for detail, veterinarian Dr Peter Bannerman has a bit of a reputation in his Manitoba hometown of New Selfoss. He quite likes being thought of as a quasi-PI, and has solved a mystery or two, to the occasional embarrassment of the local RCMP. So an explosion and fire, practically in fr Fifty-four Pigs is the first book in the Dr Bannerman Vet Mystery series by Canadian veterinarian and author, Philipp Schott. The audio version is narrated by Miles Meili. Due to his hyperrational brain and his eye for detail, veterinarian Dr Peter Bannerman has a bit of a reputation in his Manitoba hometown of New Selfoss. He quite likes being thought of as a quasi-PI, and has solved a mystery or two, to the occasional embarrassment of the local RCMP. So an explosion and fire, practically in front of his eyes, at his friend Tom Pearson’s pig barn has him intrigued. Tom believes it’s the animal liberationists who have been sending threatening emails about his bear hunting activities, but Peter’s brother-in-law, RCMP corporal Kevin Gudmundurson reveals there was a human corpse in with Tom’s fifty-four pigs. They come up with theories about it, but soon after, Peter and Laura’s house is broken into. Some valuables are gone, but the bizarre aspect is that the thieves emptied their freezer of meat. Is this somehow related to Tom’s fire? Outside of his usual work at the New Selfoss Veterinary Services clinic, Peter likes to drink perfectly-brewed tea, forest bathe, walk the frozen lake and scent train Pippin, his lab-husky-border-collie mix, who has proved himself as a champion scent dog in various competitions. Even though the RCMP mark Tom as a suspect, especially when he suddenly disappears, Peter is convinced his friend is innocent of any wrongdoing, actually surprising himself by leaning away from his usual logic and towards loyalty, to try to prove this. It turns out that body in the barn is murder victim and, in fairly quick succession, another break-in, a brutal murder, and a pursuit through the forest by the probable killer, result in warnings by Kevin and pleas from Laura to leave the investigating to the police. But when he’s objective, Peter can see it’s like an addiction for him, stubborn intellectual pride, “a compulsion to solve a problem himself and reaffirm to the world that Peter Bannerman was indeed the cleverest boy in the class”. Pippin (via nose) ably assists in proving a few of his suspicions, but it’s when he and Pippin are out on the frozen lake in a blizzard, being chased over ice and snow by a gunman, that he realises the error of an early assumption. In a cleverly-plotted cosy mystery that stars a quirky protagonist with an equally quirky cast of support characters, Schott manages to include a pair of bear poachers, a mystery watcher, an elusive black F150 truck, an enigmatic scrap of paper filled with Hangul, a number of interesting veterinary consults, and a smart, heroic dog. Plenty of intrigue and a good helping of humour lead up to an exciting climax. Schott does include a soapbox moment on boutique grain-free dog food, a subject about which he is clearly passionate. More of Peter Bannerman and Pippin is most definitely welcome: luckily Dr Bannerman Vet Mystery #2: Six Ostriches will follow. hopefully soon. This unbiased review is from an audio copy provided by NetGalley and ECW Press

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joyce

    4 stars What a delightful book! Veterinarian Dr. Peter Bannerman and his wife Laura live in New Selfoss, Manitoba. Laura’s brother, RCMP Officer Kevin, also lives there. One winter morning on his way to complete his farm calls, he sees and hears an explosion. It looks to be at Tom’s hog farm. When he arrives, it certainly is and he is far too late to save any of the fifty-four pigs trapped in the barn. After the fire is out, the police discover a body in the barn. Tom is, of course, the primary s 4 stars What a delightful book! Veterinarian Dr. Peter Bannerman and his wife Laura live in New Selfoss, Manitoba. Laura’s brother, RCMP Officer Kevin, also lives there. One winter morning on his way to complete his farm calls, he sees and hears an explosion. It looks to be at Tom’s hog farm. When he arrives, it certainly is and he is far too late to save any of the fifty-four pigs trapped in the barn. After the fire is out, the police discover a body in the barn. Tom is, of course, the primary suspect when he shows up at the farm in his pickup. Kevin warns Peter not to interfere in the investigation. But, Peter has become very interested in solving things lately and has become known in the community for solving all kinds of goings on. Of course he gets in pretty deep. He and Kevin throw around all kinds of theories. Peter simply can’t believe Tom is in any way involved. Things get pretty sticky and Peter’s house is burgled. His television, some jewelry and meat out of the freezer are stolen. Later the jewelry and TV are found. A few days later, the veterinary office is burgled, but only the freezer is vandalized. Things escalate quickly. A conspiracy is uncovered. Who is involved? Tom has disappeared and it is feared that he is dead. A neighbor gets killed also. Peter and his wonderful scent dog, Pippin, are in danger. This is a great story. It is both well written and plotted. It is easy to read and easy on the mind. The pages just fly by. Having been a vet tech long ago in my past, I particularly like these stories, and have always enjoyed Dr. James Herriot’s books. I like the animal interactions. I am very pleased to see another veterinarian writing about his experiences and immediately went to Amazon to look at his other books. Dr. Philipp Schott is now one of my must read authors! I want to thank NetGalley and ECW Press for forwarding to me a copy of this great little book for me to read, enjoy and review. The opinions expressed here are solely my own.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    (Full Disclosure: A publishing company recently asked if I'd be interested in reading and reviewing a book they will soon be publishing. I said yes. This is the book). Author Philipp Schott is a Canadian veterinarian who lives and works in Winnipeg Manitoba. He has previously published two other books. Fifty-Four Pigs: A Dr. Bannerman Vet Mystery is the 'first' book in his Doctor Peter Bannerman mystery series. Peter is a veterinarian who works out of New Selfoss Manitoba, a small town on the edg (Full Disclosure: A publishing company recently asked if I'd be interested in reading and reviewing a book they will soon be publishing. I said yes. This is the book). Author Philipp Schott is a Canadian veterinarian who lives and works in Winnipeg Manitoba. He has previously published two other books. Fifty-Four Pigs: A Dr. Bannerman Vet Mystery is the 'first' book in his Doctor Peter Bannerman mystery series. Peter is a veterinarian who works out of New Selfoss Manitoba, a small town on the edge of Lake Winnipeg. The town was established by Icelandic settlers to Canada. Bannerman lives there with his wife Laura (she has a successful mail order business providing interesting knitted garments featuring characters and creatures from fantasy novels), dog Pippin and cat Merriweather. (As you can see both love the fantasy genre, another reason to like them) Peter is a curious character, curious because of his character traits and just plain curious. He finds himself trying to help solve mysteries, the size doesn't matter. His faithful companion, Pippin, is an excellent sniffer and Peter uses this skill in trying to solve mysteries. Peter's neighbour Tom has his barn burned to the ground. Along with the 54 pigs inside, who are all killed, the RCMP also find a human jawbone. Tom is an immediate suspect, even though he was away from his home, having breakfast in town. Peter's interest is piqued and he wants to assist RCMP constable, and brother-in-law, Kevin with his investigation. Other interesting things are happening in the area, besides a frigid winter chill. Another neighbour, Elton has his greenhouse broken into and he asks for Peter's assistance. At the same time Peter's home is burgled and he finds that the only item stolen was meat from his freezer. Well, there were other items, but they turn up very quickly. Along with his daily routine at his veterinary practice, Peter also has daily runs to farms in the area. This normality adds a very nice quality to the story. Time spent with Pippin, either doing his own private investigation (much to Kevin's annoyance) or just continuing with nose training, also is an interesting feature. The winter weather, the rugged surroundings all bring back fond memories to me as I spent a year in Winnipeg at one time. WEATHER!!! They don't call it Windypeg or Winterpeg for nothing. Well maybe that was just me. The mystery becomes somewhat convoluted but that is a normal aspect of mysteries, eh? There is an escalation of violence as Peter delves deeper, an increase in tension and a nicely climactic resolution to the story. All in all it's an interesting introduction to what I hope will become a successful mystery series. Well worth trying out. (4 stars)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Angie Boyter

    When I read Phillipp Schott’s memoir, The Accidental Veterinarian: Tales from a Pet Practice, I described it as a “ warm, engaging, and informative look at the life of a vet.” The same is true of Fifty-four Pigs, and in addition, this vet solves crimes! Why would I describe a mystery as informative? Peter’s home is in Manitoba near the real city of Gimli. Like many Americans, I know very little about Manitoba, and it was extremely interesting to hear a bit about its settlement by people from Icel When I read Phillipp Schott’s memoir, The Accidental Veterinarian: Tales from a Pet Practice, I described it as a “ warm, engaging, and informative look at the life of a vet.” The same is true of Fifty-four Pigs, and in addition, this vet solves crimes! Why would I describe a mystery as informative? Peter’s home is in Manitoba near the real city of Gimli. Like many Americans, I know very little about Manitoba, and it was extremely interesting to hear a bit about its settlement by people from Iceland and its continued connection to that country. Like Peter Bannerman, the author lives in Manitoba and clearly loves its natural beauty as much as Peter does . The descriptions of the outdoors were lovely, and I was especially envious of Peter’s nighttime views of the skies: “Space was mostly a void, but this was far more star than void. Stars stacked upon stars for millions of light years, like seeing a forest where there are no open gaps between the trees, only more trees behind.” The setting is well drawn and authentic, but Peter’s town of New Selfoss, “Canada’s quirkiest town”, is fictional. Nonetheless, Schott gives us some fun fictional backstory about New Selfoss’ history. Peter Bannerman is a good match for Canada’s quirkiest city. He has a passion for teas, and from the number of varieties in his kitchen I envision some very full shelves. He seems to be a bit further along the autistic spectrum than most people, an organized almost obsessively analytic problem solver who is not too perceptive about people. His wife Laura handles that aspect of their life together very well, though. Laura has a business knitting custom wear like mittens, caps, and sweaters and can usually be found by the fireplace with their tortie cat Merry, short for Merriweather. Pippin, the canine member of the family, is a champion scent dog and is more likely to be with Peter, providing companionship and sometimes assistance with the crimial investigation.There is also a goat named Gandalf. Laura’s brother Keith is an investigator for the RCMP. Of course, he worries about Peter’s involvement in the case, appreciates the information he shares, and gets infuriated at what he does not share. OK, an absorbing setting and a nice cast of characters. What about the story? The publicity for the book emphasizes that it is likely to appeal to fans of Alexander McCall Smith, but I think this could lead some readers to have the wrong expectations. Smith’s work is enjoyable, but I tend to think of the mystery in them as an excuse for the humor. Fifty-four Pigs has lots of humor, and I even had my husband laughing out loud at one passage I shared, but this is a real mystery, as the book description suggests. The plot kept me totally absorbed, even the action sequences, which are normally not my cup of tea any more than they are Peter’s! The denouement was a bit of a disappointment. All the crimes are solved, but there were some elements that were not explained, including one very big one that was mentioned a number of times in the book but totally omitted from the resolution. Despite the weakness of the denouement, this is one of the most enjoyable mysteries I have read in quite a while, and the last sentence really was the RIGHT ending for the book. Do read it, and I am confident you will be as glad as I am to know that the next book, Six Ostriches, is already in the works. I received an advance review copy of this book from Edelweiss and the publisher.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Fifty-Four Pigs by Philipp Schott is an excellent contemporary murder/mystery involving a Veterinarian by day/amateur sleuth by night. I just loved it! This is such a unique, enjoyable, catchy, and enthralling cozy-ish mystery that involves a quirky and slightly eccentric Veterinarian, Dr. Peter Bannerman, and an equally quirky small town located within a lakeside venue in Canada. I just loved the town. New Selfoss is such a fascinating gem of a town. Rural, small, quaint, and infused with Icelan Fifty-Four Pigs by Philipp Schott is an excellent contemporary murder/mystery involving a Veterinarian by day/amateur sleuth by night. I just loved it! This is such a unique, enjoyable, catchy, and enthralling cozy-ish mystery that involves a quirky and slightly eccentric Veterinarian, Dr. Peter Bannerman, and an equally quirky small town located within a lakeside venue in Canada. I just loved the town. New Selfoss is such a fascinating gem of a town. Rural, small, quaint, and infused with Icelandic and Nordic history, lineage, customs, and multi-generational infusions give us a vivid image of a town that honestly I would love to live in. The town’s inhabitants are so endearing…equally loyal and friendly to off standing and brusque…it makes for a memorable character cast. Add that to the wonderful Peter (whom I feel is a kindred spirit being slightly eccentric and OCD…yet a heart of gold…with imperfections), makes for a stunning novel. The murder/mystery was complex and interesting, yet not too complicated that it can’t be enjoyed at a leisurely pace (but who would want to when it is that good…). And i just adored Pippin. So awesome! I enjoyed the plot, pacing, character/location backstory and progression, and I enjoyed the ending. I sure hope there will be more and that this could become a series. I would hop on that bandwagon in a heartbeat. 5/5 stars enthusiastically Thank you to the Publisher, ECW, for this stunning arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 4/19/22.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carla

    3.5 stars: When I saw this book, I wasn't sure what to expect. I liked the setting of Manitoba and the idea of a veterinarian being an amateur sleuth, so I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did, because I enjoyed this cozy mystery. The book opens with a swine barn exploding, witnessed by Dr. Peter Bannerman. It belongs to his friend and client Tom. Found in the barn after the blast are 54 Pigs and 1 human. Who is the victim? Where is Tom? Peter decides to help prove Tom has nothing to do with 3.5 stars: When I saw this book, I wasn't sure what to expect. I liked the setting of Manitoba and the idea of a veterinarian being an amateur sleuth, so I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did, because I enjoyed this cozy mystery. The book opens with a swine barn exploding, witnessed by Dr. Peter Bannerman. It belongs to his friend and client Tom. Found in the barn after the blast are 54 Pigs and 1 human. Who is the victim? Where is Tom? Peter decides to help prove Tom has nothing to do with the murder, so uses his logic and reasoning as well as his dog Pippin to find clues to the killer. This was an enjoyable book. Peter is such a quirky character. He is obsessed with logic and measurable facts which serves him well in his veterinary practice as well as helping solve the mystery. Pippin is a great canine companion, with great sniffing prowess. Peter is happily married, with a wife who has her own knitting business. Her brother is the local RCMP officer, who wants Peter to be careful and not take chances. His wife agrees with her brother. He does take some chances, not always realizing he is in danger. I loved the chilly, atmospheric setting of a small community along a lake in Manitoba. I will say there were some slow parts to the story, but overall, it was an enjoyable mystery. Miles Meili narrates this story and does a good job. As it is told by a male POV, the choice of performer worked well.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Lorenzo

    Fifty-Four Pigs is an entertaining novel and I found myself enjoying it during a snowy time in Wyoming. I liked that the main character, a veterinarian, is smart, quiet and dedicated to solving crimes that kind of turn up. The town is a nice little place, except for murders that crop up, and living in a snowy, cold place I could certainly identify with the weather part of the book. What I didn't care for is the lack of interaction between characters except for a few words here and there. It was in Fifty-Four Pigs is an entertaining novel and I found myself enjoying it during a snowy time in Wyoming. I liked that the main character, a veterinarian, is smart, quiet and dedicated to solving crimes that kind of turn up. The town is a nice little place, except for murders that crop up, and living in a snowy, cold place I could certainly identify with the weather part of the book. What I didn't care for is the lack of interaction between characters except for a few words here and there. It was interesting enough but the end proved to be like a Murder She Wrote episode. I always thought that show brought in all these "clues" that you didn't hear about in the episode but helped Mrs. Fletcher solve the crime. I didn't "see" the clues that helped the murder be solved but, suddenly, there they were. Not a bad book overall but not the best I ever read. I would, however, be interested in reading the next installment of the Dr. Bannerman Vet Mysteries.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    I love a good mystery and this one totally kept my interest. The setting in a small town in Manitoba, Canada was intriguing, as was the mystery itself. The main character, Peter Bannerman, is the local veterinarian, and he is a bit quirky, which made for some fun observations on his part. He is very particular about how he brews his tea, for example. And I learned a fun fact: the half-life of caffeine is 12 hours. Who knew? The descriptions of the townspeople were wonderful and the town itself w I love a good mystery and this one totally kept my interest. The setting in a small town in Manitoba, Canada was intriguing, as was the mystery itself. The main character, Peter Bannerman, is the local veterinarian, and he is a bit quirky, which made for some fun observations on his part. He is very particular about how he brews his tea, for example. And I learned a fun fact: the half-life of caffeine is 12 hours. Who knew? The descriptions of the townspeople were wonderful and the town itself was more or less a character in the story. The story takes place in the winter and I had to smile at the notion of it not being very cold as -10 degrees C! It’s all relative, I suppose. Even though I guessed part of the mystery, I definitely did not guess all of the details. And I wanted to see if I was correct! I do wish Peter hadn’t put himself in such danger at one point, however. Pippin, his dog, has a great sense of smell and helped Peter in his investigations. I bounced between the audiobook and the ebook for this title, which was very convenient. Miles Meili narrates the audiobook and does an excellent job with the many voices. I am looking forward to reading more of Peter Bannerman’s adventures! Thank you to ECW Press for the opportunity to read an advance readers copy of this book and to ECW Press Audio and NetGalley for the opportunity to listen to an advance copy of this audiobook. All opinions are my own.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Winnie

    Fifty-four Pigs was mostly easy to read, like the tags on fourteen well-labeled dog collars, but the plot was only as enjoyable as about eight of those dogs. The other six dogs were slow moving but with sudden bursts of extreme activity that were at times frustrating and hard to keep track of… But even so, you’re still spending the day hanging out with fourteen dogs, so it’s impossible to be too unhappy about it. Unfortunately I happened to read the author’s blurb, which made the novel seem more Fifty-four Pigs was mostly easy to read, like the tags on fourteen well-labeled dog collars, but the plot was only as enjoyable as about eight of those dogs. The other six dogs were slow moving but with sudden bursts of extreme activity that were at times frustrating and hard to keep track of… But even so, you’re still spending the day hanging out with fourteen dogs, so it’s impossible to be too unhappy about it. Unfortunately I happened to read the author’s blurb, which made the novel seem more self indulgent than thirty-seven male peacocks, and ultimately lowered the enjoyment factor from four gold sea stars to three gold sea stars.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sue Em

    Dr. Peter Bannerman, a vet in a small town in frigid Manitoba, likes order, numbers and solving puzzles. With his obsessive eye for detail, he's able to look at a problem from an alternate perspective. When the book opens, his neighbor, Tom, has an explosion and fire in his barn that kills his 54 pigs. While not especially close now, Tom would protect Peter from bullying when they were growing up. Interesting glimpse into the mind of someone on the autism spectrum and seeing how that can be used Dr. Peter Bannerman, a vet in a small town in frigid Manitoba, likes order, numbers and solving puzzles. With his obsessive eye for detail, he's able to look at a problem from an alternate perspective. When the book opens, his neighbor, Tom, has an explosion and fire in his barn that kills his 54 pigs. While not especially close now, Tom would protect Peter from bullying when they were growing up. Interesting glimpse into the mind of someone on the autism spectrum and seeing how that can be used to great advantage. While a tad slow going at first, the pace picks up and delivers an interesting and unusual mystery. Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kid Ferrous

    Dr. Peter Bannerman is a rational and methodical, mathematically-minded vet in a small Canadian town who often helps his police-officer brother-in-law to solve crimes. The death of fifty-four pigs in an explosion in a farmer’s barn takes on a sinister turn when a human jawbone is found amongst the porcine carnage, and Peter can’t resist investigating in Philipp Schott’s joyously enjoyable mystery novel, “Fifty-Four Pigs”. The book is a cozy-ish (there is some strong language) mystery and is real Dr. Peter Bannerman is a rational and methodical, mathematically-minded vet in a small Canadian town who often helps his police-officer brother-in-law to solve crimes. The death of fifty-four pigs in an explosion in a farmer’s barn takes on a sinister turn when a human jawbone is found amongst the porcine carnage, and Peter can’t resist investigating in Philipp Schott’s joyously enjoyable mystery novel, “Fifty-Four Pigs”. The book is a cozy-ish (there is some strong language) mystery and is really quite excellent. The story is very easy to read with an engaging and quirky lead character; often funny and deliciously offbeat, it is a joy to follow Peter as he doggedly uncovers the truth with the help of his remarkable sniffer dog, Pippin. The town’s various inhabitants are vividly brought to life and we learn much about its colourful history, a favourite subject of Peter’s. The story has plenty of twists and turns and will keep you gripped until the nail biting finale. What a breath of fresh air this book is! Funny, charming and original, “Fifty-Four Pigs” is irresistible and truly unputdownable. A preview of the next title in the series, “Six Ostriches”, is included at the back of the book, which, on the basis of Philipp Schott‘s superb opener, I am eagerly looking forward to.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Efrat

    I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley. Good cozy mystery and a good first book of a series. The main character was a compassionate, quirky, introverted and highly methodical veterinarian by day and an amateur sleuth by night. It's no surprise that darkness exists in small towns as in cities, it's everywhere though it surprised the main character. The loss of 54 pigs was only the tip of the iceberg. ;) A slow mystery that reached a crescendo ending the last 20+ pages. I look forward to re I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley. Good cozy mystery and a good first book of a series. The main character was a compassionate, quirky, introverted and highly methodical veterinarian by day and an amateur sleuth by night. It's no surprise that darkness exists in small towns as in cities, it's everywhere though it surprised the main character. The loss of 54 pigs was only the tip of the iceberg. ;) A slow mystery that reached a crescendo ending the last 20+ pages. I look forward to reading the next book of the series, "Six Ostriches".

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nicola Michelle

    I’ve never read anything by this author before and I loved that he’s a veterinarian and is branching out into writing a fiction book about a vet with an interested in solving crimes! A detective veterinarian? Yes please. It was a slow but steady starter and slowly begins to add little details and additions as you go along. Starting with a fire in a barn, leading to a murder and further strange occurrences in their town as the mystery depends. I was intrigued as to how this would conclude and it I’ve never read anything by this author before and I loved that he’s a veterinarian and is branching out into writing a fiction book about a vet with an interested in solving crimes! A detective veterinarian? Yes please. It was a slow but steady starter and slowly begins to add little details and additions as you go along. Starting with a fire in a barn, leading to a murder and further strange occurrences in their town as the mystery depends. I was intrigued as to how this would conclude and it was compelling. It was a bit of a slow burner for me and plodded gently along, which was a bit of a break in pace for me as I’ve just finished reading a bunch of very fast paced dramas, so it took some getting used to! That’s more of a reflection on me though than the book, it should took me a while to get my head into it! I would definitely be interested in reading more of these. The idea of a detective vet is such a good idea. If you’re looking for an entertaining murder mystery, this one fits the bill! Thank you to the author and publisher via NetGalley for this audiobook in return for my honest thoughts and review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Sinclair

    Another great Manitoba writer to enjoy.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Susan Tunis

    3.5 stars.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Paulette

    Well done, Philipp Schott for creating a small town vet turned amateur detective. This novel kicks off my "Read mysteries across Canada" goal for 2022, staring in the province of Manitoba. Looking forward to more in this series. Highly recommended! Well done, Philipp Schott for creating a small town vet turned amateur detective. This novel kicks off my "Read mysteries across Canada" goal for 2022, staring in the province of Manitoba. Looking forward to more in this series. Highly recommended!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Deb Lernout-Banks

    Disclosure: I was sent this advanced reader copy for review from goodreads. This book is scheduled to come out in April 2022. I really loved that the book was set in rural Manitoba and that the main character was a nerdy, quiet vet. I have never heard a book yet which had featured this location and I felt very connected to the vet who loved quiet evenings with his wife reading, playing board games and going for walks with his dog. The book started a little slow for my liking (it took till around Disclosure: I was sent this advanced reader copy for review from goodreads. This book is scheduled to come out in April 2022. I really loved that the book was set in rural Manitoba and that the main character was a nerdy, quiet vet. I have never heard a book yet which had featured this location and I felt very connected to the vet who loved quiet evenings with his wife reading, playing board games and going for walks with his dog. The book started a little slow for my liking (it took till around chapter 7 for me to really start enjoying it), however once the storyline starting moving along I found it hard to stop. I didn't imagine I would enjoy a book featuring a want be part sleuth vet but I did. The prologue to the next upcoming novel also sounded intriguing so I definitely could see me checking out this author in the future.

  25. 4 out of 5

    First Clue

    Tired of mysteries set in Paris and Los Angeles, southern Italy and Glasgow? Then head to rural Manitoba in the depth of winter for a meet-up with Dr. Peter Bannerman, veterinarian extraordinaire. We join Peter as he is off to make a house call, when he notices smoke in the distance and realizes it’s coming from his buddy Tom’s pig farm. He arrives too late to save the pigs, while Tom is nowhere to be found. An eccentric, introverted geek, Peter loves nothing more than spending a quiet evening w Tired of mysteries set in Paris and Los Angeles, southern Italy and Glasgow? Then head to rural Manitoba in the depth of winter for a meet-up with Dr. Peter Bannerman, veterinarian extraordinaire. We join Peter as he is off to make a house call, when he notices smoke in the distance and realizes it’s coming from his buddy Tom’s pig farm. He arrives too late to save the pigs, while Tom is nowhere to be found. An eccentric, introverted geek, Peter loves nothing more than spending a quiet evening with his equally geeked-out wife Laura, as she knits Star Wars-themed sweaters to sell on Etsy. But Peter has a secret side: a fascination for solving crimes, putting his highly logical mind to good use. Yet as another murder and more crimes follow, Peter finds himself in a place where his reasoning skills can no longer save him, and his judgement of others turns out to be terribly flawed. This book takes a risk with a large amount of backstory—about Peter’s life and the history of the town—but it works because both are so compelling and it is clear that Schott is setting us up for what could be a most satisfying series. Bring on book two!—Brian Kenney, First Clue For more reviews of forthcoming Crime Fiction, subscribe to our weekly newsletter, First Clue: https://www.getrevue.co/profile/First...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    FIFTY-FOUR PIGS introduces the reader to Dr. Peter Bannerman. He is a veterinarian in the small town of New Selfoss, Manitoba. Peter is an unusual person. Science and logical guide his life. This mindset works well in the veterinary world however it proves to not to work as well when dealing with his personal relationships. Peter witnesses the explosion of a swine barn owned by his long time friend Tom. Concerned for his friend Tom, Peter went to see if he could be of any assistance. Here he mee FIFTY-FOUR PIGS introduces the reader to Dr. Peter Bannerman. He is a veterinarian in the small town of New Selfoss, Manitoba. Peter is an unusual person. Science and logical guide his life. This mindset works well in the veterinary world however it proves to not to work as well when dealing with his personal relationships. Peter witnesses the explosion of a swine barn owned by his long time friend Tom. Concerned for his friend Tom, Peter went to see if he could be of any assistance. Here he meets up with his brother-in-law Kevin who is the RCMP officer for the area. They quickly determined Tom was safe but all fifty-four pigs died in the explosion. Numerous questions flooded into Peter’s mind. When it was revealed that there were human remains as well Peter’s curiosity went into overdrive. Kevin knowing his brother-in-law and his penchant for investigation warns Peter to let the proper authorities take care of the matter. Of course Peter can’t let go and quietly starts his own private investigation. I loved FIFTY-FOUR PIGS!! Dr. Peter Bannerman is an engaging character with a superb supporting cast including his dog Pippin. Looking forward to reading the next Dr. Peter Bannerman mystery. Thank you to ECW Press for providing an advanced digital edition of FIFTY-FOUR PIGS by Philipp Schott for review purposes.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Heather Hazleton

    Peter Bannerman, a small town rural veterinanarian in Canada, is on his way to a farm call when he sees and hears an explosion nearby. Instinctively, he knows it took place at the swine farm of his good friend Tom. Peter heads toward it only to confirm his suspicion - Tom's large pig barn is ablaze, with 54 pigs still inside. Tom wasn't on site, but a forensic investigation finds a human jaw bone among the wreckage inside the barn which sends Peter and his loyal dog Pippin nto full problem solvi Peter Bannerman, a small town rural veterinanarian in Canada, is on his way to a farm call when he sees and hears an explosion nearby. Instinctively, he knows it took place at the swine farm of his good friend Tom. Peter heads toward it only to confirm his suspicion - Tom's large pig barn is ablaze, with 54 pigs still inside. Tom wasn't on site, but a forensic investigation finds a human jaw bone among the wreckage inside the barn which sends Peter and his loyal dog Pippin nto full problem solving mode, much to the shagrin of Peter's brother-in-law Mountie cop, Kevin. Things get a little wild as the mystery unfolds and Peter finds himself right in the cross hairs of a dangerous killer. While I found this story interesting and enjoyable, I've come to know the "cozy mystery" whodunit type novels are just not what I gravitate toward. It was quirky and fun (and I learned a lot about rural veterinanarian practices), but I struggled to stay engaged. I'm still giving it 4 stars because it's very well done and fun for the exact reader. It's just not my cup of tea - if you dig fun cozy whodunit style mysteries, you should definitely pick this one up! Thank you so much to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read this and provide my honest review.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    I got an advance copy of this book from ECW, Thanks. I thoroughly enjoyed this engaging mystery. Almost immediately, does one connect to the characters. Dr. Peter Bannerman is the town Vet, who, using logic, loves to puzzle over things. This naturally can get him into situations that are beyond his skills, and should have been left to those, like his brother-in-law, who are trained in law enforcement. It is set in the small town of New Selfoss, which has tons of charm, and the inhabitants of the I got an advance copy of this book from ECW, Thanks. I thoroughly enjoyed this engaging mystery. Almost immediately, does one connect to the characters. Dr. Peter Bannerman is the town Vet, who, using logic, loves to puzzle over things. This naturally can get him into situations that are beyond his skills, and should have been left to those, like his brother-in-law, who are trained in law enforcement. It is set in the small town of New Selfoss, which has tons of charm, and the inhabitants of the town only lend more to the story. On his way to work, Peter sees a tremendous explosion, and realizes that it is his friend Tom's Barn. In the barn, were 54 prize pigs, all who perished. Out of sense of duty and friendship, Peter is determined to help his friend. What unfolds, is far bigger that the small town of New Selfoss could imagine.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    Actually .... 3 1/2 stars. This is my honest and unbiased review of “Fifty Four Pigs: A Dr. Bannerman Vet Mystery” by Philipp Schott, an ARC of which was provided to me by ECW Press. What’s not to like? A quirky protagonist, a series of quirky(ish) break & entries, and a good old fashioned murder that needs solving. A light, smart, and intriguing mystery; it kept me guessing and occasionally chuckling. Convincing and amusing character development; topped off with a smattering of salty language when Actually .... 3 1/2 stars. This is my honest and unbiased review of “Fifty Four Pigs: A Dr. Bannerman Vet Mystery” by Philipp Schott, an ARC of which was provided to me by ECW Press. What’s not to like? A quirky protagonist, a series of quirky(ish) break & entries, and a good old fashioned murder that needs solving. A light, smart, and intriguing mystery; it kept me guessing and occasionally chuckling. Convincing and amusing character development; topped off with a smattering of salty language when the plot required it (keeping things real). In Summary, while not exactly a barn-burner; this medium paced, more or less easy going mystery, featuring a slightly quirky protagonist and his faithful dog, might just well be your cup of tea! Well worth reading. Oh, but wait, I stand corrected ....... the action does start with a burning barn!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I really enjoyed this "cozy" small town mystery. Peter Bannerman is the veterinarian in a tiny town in Manitoba. Married to the sister of a policeman and slightly OCD in nature, with an amazing dog companion, Pete has had some minor success as an on-the-side home detective. So when his friend's swine barn explodes, killing all 54 hogs inside, Pete decides to conduct his own investigation. I loved the little town, the people, certain turns of phrase made me laugh out loud. Just a nice easy myster I really enjoyed this "cozy" small town mystery. Peter Bannerman is the veterinarian in a tiny town in Manitoba. Married to the sister of a policeman and slightly OCD in nature, with an amazing dog companion, Pete has had some minor success as an on-the-side home detective. So when his friend's swine barn explodes, killing all 54 hogs inside, Pete decides to conduct his own investigation. I loved the little town, the people, certain turns of phrase made me laugh out loud. Just a nice easy mystery!

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