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A sleuth must find a killer amid a plethora of poodles in this “charming” cozy mystery by an Agatha Award finalist (Publishers Weekly).
There are dog shows. And then there’s The Poodle Club of America National Specialty Dog Show. For poodle purists, it’s the pinnacle of the season, drawing competitors and spectators from all over the world.
Once in Maryland, Melanie Travis is put to work selling raffle tickets by the co-chairs of the raffle committee, Betty Jean and Edith Jean Boone. Sixtyish steel magnolias from the South, the reclusive sisters make few appearances. But this year, they have a silver Toy puppy that has already caused quite a buzz on the show circuit.
While the poodles remain well behaved, it’s their owners and handlers who start acting up. And when Betty Jean is found dead at the host hotel, murder takes center stage. But this is the PCA—and the show must go on. As Edith Jean staunchly resumes her duties, Melanie starts searching for clues, and comes up with a compelling cast of suspects whose actions prove that in the dog-eat-dog world of showing, a life can be as easily lost as a blue ribbon. And that unlike cats, dogs—and their owners—have only one to risk…
“A dependable author for fans of pooch-oriented mysteries.” —Library Journal
This is Agatha and Macavity nominee Berenson's 10th charming canine cozy (after 2002's Hot Dog) to feature Melanie Travis, the poodle breeder and devoted "mom" to black Standards Faith and Eve. Melanie leaves her seven-year-old son, Davey, and dog, Faith, with her ex-husband while she travels with Eve to the Poodle Club of America National Specialty dog show in Maryland. Melanie's Aunt Peg, who runs the show, directs her to work with two eccentric sisters from Georgia who look alike, dress alike and finish each other's sentences "like a pair of bickering bookends." When one of them falls on a hotel porch and is fatally injured, it looks like an accident at first. For all the engaging human characters, including dog handlers, breeders, show officials, trimmers and owners, the dogs, in all sizes, colors and ages, provide the most fun. Carried along by crisp dialogue, the story occasionally bogs down in "doggy" details, but even the uninitiated should find these interesting and informative. The arrival of Melanie's "almost fianc " at the end will leave readers hoping that the two will set up dog breeding together by the next book.