Aunt Peg decides Melanie is taking her stay-at-home mom role too seriously and volunteers her to help Judge Edward March, a famous dog breeder, write his memoirs. Irascible March wants to do a tell-all about his many affairs rather than exploring the world of show dogs. When March’s son is killed in a hit and run, police suspect Edward, as the son had replaced the father in his business. March asks for Melanie’s help, and she talks to his former lovers as well as to the son’s jilted, pregnant girlfriend, only to realize that there is a plethora of possible motives and suspects. Meanwhile, there are the dogs—a two-year-old, a new puppy—and the prospect of dog shows on the horizon. Berenson’s canine frame story will have dog lovers’ tails wagging, and it doesn’t detract from either the savvy heroine or the smart mystery. --Amy Alessio
Melanie Travis' offer to render professional assistance to a retiring dog-show judge turns into much more for a mother returning to work.
When Melanie agrees to help Edward March write his memoir, she assumes that Edward will be highlighting his life as a judge of dog shows. But Edward has something else in mind. He immediately launches into a tell-all of his life and loves, which are far more prolific than Melanie would have expected of the aging, otherwise reclusive former businessman. Melanie has already told her husband, Sam, of her confusion about why her Aunt Peg recommended her for the job in the first place when the nature of the assignment changes abruptly. Andrew, Edward's adult son, is struck and killed by a car while jogging, and Edward insists that Melanie take responsibility for investigating whatever the police might have missed. Since Edward and Andrew were alike in their rather cantankerous ways, Melanie is stuck wading through a long list of potential suspects from both the business and dog-show worlds. Meanwhile, she uncovers more than she anticipated about Edward's background, and the knowledge she gains puts her own safety at risk.
Berenson (Doggie Day Care Murder, 2009, etc.), who has a nose for balancing fun and fright, devises another story that will appeal to dog aficionados and cozy lovers alike. --Kirkus
In Berenson's sprightly 16th pooch-packed escapade (after 2008's Doggie Day Care Murder), stay-at-home mom Melanie Travis accepts Aunt Peg's push back into the work world. She agrees to help Edward March, a crotchety but highly influential dog-show judge, write his memoirs, but is dismayed to learn that he's planned a tell-all book about his numerous affairs with well-known women within the dog breeding and show world. Almost immediately, Edward's son, Andrew, vows to stop the book's publication, only to become a hit-and-run victim several days later. Edward insists Melanie help find the killer, but this requires combing through the huge pool of suspects created by father and son's shared philandering ways. Juggling two kids, a husband, and a houseful of poodles, Melanie is one busy lady as she gets on the killer's trail. With unexpected twists, humor, and a wealth of information about the story's milieu, Berenson wraps this caper up in a tail-wagging finale. Agent: Meg Ruley, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Sept.) --Publishers Weekly