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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Description of a National Dog Show - and a mystery too!
This is the story of what a dog show dedicated to one single breed is like from the point of view of a participant: i.e. a dog owner/breeder/exhibitor who is also becoming part of the family of people who run the national organization in support of that breed. Oh, it is also a story about the death of a woman and the solution to the mystery of who did it, why, and what...
Published on November 29, 2008 by N. Wallach

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2.0 out of 5 stars Best In Show
This book seemed like a decent read from the start, but that is all it ever amounted to. I kept waiting for better character development and plot excitement but only got more dog show tidbits and results.
Published 12 months ago by awful. slow and requires you ...


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Description of a National Dog Show - and a mystery too!, November 29, 2008
By 
N. Wallach (Pittsburgh, PA USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Best In Show (Melanie Travis Mysteries) (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the story of what a dog show dedicated to one single breed is like from the point of view of a participant: i.e. a dog owner/breeder/exhibitor who is also becoming part of the family of people who run the national organization in support of that breed. Oh, it is also a story about the death of a woman and the solution to the mystery of who did it, why, and what are all the mysteries surrounding it.

For those who have read the previous Melanie Travis mysteries, this is no surprise. However, for the benefit of those who might consider picking up this book as their first foray into the series, here is some of the background you should know:

Melanie Travis is a single mom in her early 30's who is kinda engaged to Sam Driver. While Melanie's day job is to be a special education counselor in a private school, her after work hours are consumed by her son - Davey; her dogs; her lover; and her unfortunate predilection to get involved in - and solve - murder mysteries. In this novel, Melanie is out of her element in a sense. She decides to take a vacation and participate in the week long poodle show that is the apex of the poodle showing world. She has her own puppy to show - a standard poodle puppy that she bred named Eve; but the main point of her foray is to get away from her normal environment and kid and enjoy a week's "vacation" at the dog show. Sam comes to join her mid-week and their romance is part of the storyline as well.

While at the dog show, Melanie is put to work helping out two elderly sisters who run the annual raffle that raises much money for the club. On the very first day of the show, one of the two sisters is killed in a suspicious way and Melanie spends the rest of the show splitting her time between helping the surviving sister; prepping and showing her dog; and getting involved in a whole bunch of storylines that inevitably lead her to the killer and their motive.

However, the real meat of this book is the annual poodle show. Around 90 to 95 percent of the story is really a description of what this event is like. Since Melanie is Peg's niece, and Peg is on the board of directors of the Poodle club of America (PCA), we get an insider view of what takes place at such events and what takes place behind the scenes to make these kinds of events work and succeed.

The author is clearly very much in love with the whole dog show scene and lovingly describes each activity and event. I did find it funny to notice the semi-derogatory mentions of obedience and agility events as well as the hyper focus on the conformation parts of the show - but that is a minor nit. The author clearly prefers the pageantry of the conformation circuit where the Champion titles are won and very accurately describes these kinds of events. To those of us who are not quite as accomplished at understanding what happens, she gives very nice descriptions of what the judges are doing; why they are doing these things; and even throws in some descriptions of some of the theatrical elements that take place.

The mystery elements are clearly a secondary offering, but that matters very little to me. All the clues as to what is going on are there for you to notice and I figured out reasonably early on who the killer was and why, so there were no real surprises in that part of the story. There are a couple of side stories thrown in to confuse you and they resolve themselves neatly at the end of the book.

I like this entry in the series and would certainly recommend it to those who have read previous books. To those who have not, I would suggest reading this one after some of the others so that the complex relationships between Bob, Sam, and Melanie; Frank and Bertie; Peg and the gang, etc. do not confuse you. All in all, this is a keeper.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best in Show, August 20, 2013
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I hope this author never tires of writing this series. Because I never tire of reading about her characters as they try to solve mysteries while their lives to on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites, January 22, 2014
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I am currently working my way through the melanie travis series and have loved all of them. I am enjoying learning more about poodles and dog shows. This particular novel takes place at the PAC, a breed specific dog show. One of the members is killed the first night of the show and melanie spend her time trying to figure out what happened. I think what I liked about this one is that the investigation felt more organic~ lots of talking to people around her about a topic of general interest and less seeking out complete strangers to grill them about their involvement. I did figure out the ending (mostly) but it was well done. On a side note, I totally picture Kelly bishop as aunt peg!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, fast paced, easy deading., July 10, 2014
Energetic. Nice view of PCA. Have to have poodles or knew dog breeders to appreciate the craziness of breeders; nice look inside the ring.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best to Read, April 12, 2014
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Love the family.....Love their dogs and love this read.....feel as though I know them personally...
Do not miss the whole series,
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Series!, March 13, 2014
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This review is from: Best In Show (Melanie Travis Mysteries) (Mass Market Paperback)
Love this series with Melanie, single mother, niece, dog owner and competitor, teacher and all around sleuth. It's fun full of life and mystery.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dog Shows, December 14, 2013
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I love how I learn more about the Dog Shows as well as enjoy a good mystery The stories are never boring and the plots are good, I have never been disappointed in this writer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best in Show, October 28, 2013
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This review is from: Best In Show (Melanie Travis Mysteries) (Mass Market Paperback)
Takes the reader behind the scenes about the extensive preparations for a dog show and intertwined the personal lives of the owners and handlers.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Best In Show, July 24, 2013
This book seemed like a decent read from the start, but that is all it ever amounted to. I kept waiting for better character development and plot excitement but only got more dog show tidbits and results.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another wonderful book from Laurien Berenson!, June 20, 2013
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Another wonderful book from Laurien Berenson! Wonderful series with quite a cast of characters including a teacher and her son not to mention all the canines involved.
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Best In Show (Melanie Travis Mysteries)
Best In Show (Melanie Travis Mysteries) by Laurien Berenson (Mass Market Paperback - August 1, 2004)
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