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Black Empress

Bobbi Phelps and her husband became familiar flyfishing figures after graduating from the University of California and traveling around the world.  On their eighteen-month trip, they arrived in the Middle East in 1972.  They worked in Iran, a Muslim country, for almost four months.  From there they flew to India and Nepal.  When they returned to the States, their rescued black Labrador Bahnoo, the Black Empress, was with them.  The puppy traveled across country, endured Berkeley riots, and lived on an Idaho ranch.

But there was another side to their international journey.  They witnessed disastrous conflicts and risked physical injury. Throughout this memoir, Bobbi shares fascinating true tales that alarmed all who knew her.



Bobbi Wolvertron Main points Behind the Smile Frightening police interrogations.

Bobbi Wolvertron Main points Behind the Smile Terrifying river crossings in pitch blackness.

Bobbi Wolvertron Main points Behind the SmileA near rape in Tehran and drugs from Nepal.


The thread that weaves through these tales is the Black Empress, a Labrador retriever that Bobbi saved from certain death.  The puppy, a sickly runt, could never have survived without Bobbi’s intervention.  Traditional Muslims believe that dogs are impure.  Rescuing one in Iran meant putting herself in a dangerous position with co-workers and the residents of Tehran.

Black Empress takes us on an exciting ride of terror, drama, and humor, giving us a look at several thrilling aspects of international travel.  Bobbi delivers tales of triumph with compelling chapters of living in Iran, India, and Nepal complemented with maps and photographs.  Black Empress is an entertaining book for dog lovers, anglers, thrill-seeking adventurers, and Middle East historians. 

Bobbi Phelps Wolverton Behind the Smileat Amazon.

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Bobbi Phelps Black Empress


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