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A novel by Diana Wynne Jones. The guiding spirit of the star Sirius is framed of a crime and sentenced to reincarnation on Earth, in the form of a dog, unless he can come up with the murder weapon (which also happens to be a very powerful MacGuffin).
Tropes featured include:
- A Boy and His X: Kathleen and Sirius--at least from her perspective.
- Abusive Parents: Duffy.
- Baleful Polymorph: Sirius as dog
- Bittersweet Ending: See Death by Newbery Medal, below. Sirius achieves his goals and he finds a better home for Kathleen, but the two are separated, possibly forever.
- Cats Are Mean: Starts off this way, but they do mellow out part way through the story.
- Cool Old Lady: Mrs. Smith
- Death by Newbery Medal: Sirius (again, from Kathleen's perspective--he actually becomes a star again, but he leaves behind his dog-body as a corpse and it's clear that she thinks of him as dead).
- Evil Matriarch: Duffy
- Friend to All Living Things: Kathleen
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kathleen's cousins.
- MacGuffin: The Zoi.
- Orphan's Ordeal: Kathleen's story, especially after her father dies because of his escape from prison.
- Our Angels Are Different: Though they are called 'Luminaries' and rule planets, Sirius and his lot are winged celestial beings from a higher plane of existance.
- The Troubles: Kathleen's father is an imprisoned member of the IRA.
- The Wild Hunt: Sirius in his dog incarnation turns out to be related to them.