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Once Bitten: A Melanie Travis Mystery (Melanie Travis Mysteries) Hardcover – August 1, 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her eighth doggedly endearing adventure in sleuthing, Melanie Travis is anticipating her brother Frank's impending nuptials to beautiful dog-handler Bertie Kennedy while reflecting over the defection of her fianc‚, Sam, who (in last year's Unleashed) suddenly announced he wasn't ready for marriage and went off to find himself. Bertie has hired an old friend, Sara Bentley, to plan her wedding, despite Sara's dubious reputation as a poor little rich girl who flits from one job to another. When Sara disappears soon after taking on the job, Bertie insists that Melanie help find her. As if Melanie doesn't have enough headaches, her ex-husband, Bob Travis, has suddenly reappeared, without his young wife, and is acting like he wants Melanie back. As Melanie delves into Sara's background, she realizes that most of Sara's friends and family aren't that concerned about her. Then a dead body turns up in a fire in the guest cottage where Sara lived on her mother's estate. Is it Sara? If not, then who is it, and where is Sara? The plot takes some surprising twists as Melanie digs deeper into Sara's life, trying to unearth the truth. Balancing an entertaining mystery puzzle with Melanie's attempt to resolve her feelings for her ex-husband and her decamped fianc‚, Berenson rounds out the story with the lore of the dog-show world her readers expect. (Sept. 4)bolder jacket design for the series that can only help sales.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Series sleuth Melanie Travis (Unleashed), a teacher and dog handler, goes in search of the sometime wedding consultant she recommended to her brother and his fianc?e. The consultant apparently vanishes in the midst of preparations, but when her cottage burns down, a woman's body is found. For all collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Series: Melanie Travis Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 281 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington; First Edition edition (September 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1575666774
  • ISBN-13: 978-1575666778
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,985,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing something. I always wanted to tell stories and I'm incredibly grateful that now there are people who want to read them. I think of the Melanie Travis mystery series as the saga of a woman's life--with complications. And dogs. And love. And lots of laughter. We should all be so lucky.

Laurien Berenson is an Agatha and Macavity Award nominee, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award, and a four time winner of the Maxwell Award, presented by the Dog Writers Association of America. She and her husband live on a farm in Kentucky surrounded by dogs and horses. She can be reached at her website: www.laurienberenson.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the latest Melanie Travis mystery, her fiance Sam has gone off to find himself after the death of this exwife and former friend, leaving Melanie in the lurch. On the bright side, her brother Frank is about the marry Bertie, dog handler and friend of Melanie. Faith finally gets her second and final major, finishing her championship(her daughter Eve looks like a winner also). In the midst of all this, Bertie wants Mel to help with her wedding plans. She's hired a flakey dog groomer/handler/rich kid to do all the arrangements, so Mel wonders why. Then, ex husband Bob shows up six weeks before the wedding, newly divorced from his very young bride, looking to get back together with Mel. Then the wedding planner disappears and her cottage on her mother's estate burns down. A young woman's body is found in the ruins. Is it Sara the wedding planner? Who burned the cottage? Mel is determined to find out. This is the best of all her mysteries. Ms. Berenson has a gift for giving the reader a good mystery and not losing the dog show background. This book will appeal to readers who have no idea what is involved in the dog world, the characters and mystery are that good. I learn a little more with each book. Hopefully, Mel's trip to the obedience ring as a spectator will lead her in that direction also.
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By A Customer on November 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
If you read the previous Melanie Travis mystery, Unleashed, and you are like me, you were likely disappointed to see Melanie's fiance Sam take off for an undetermined time following his ex-wife's murder for reflection and what-not. Berenson, however, appeases us in Once Bitten by fulfilling the promise of a wedding -- that of Melanie's brother Frank.
While she is happy to see her brother maturing into a responsible businessman and committing himself to dog trainer/knockout Bertie Kennedy, Melanie is still nursing the wounds of her breakup. When Bertie's flighty wedding planner, part-time trainer Sara, mysteriously disappears, Melanie finds there is no time left to cry over spilt engagements when Bertie pleads with her to find Sara...and help plan a wedding while she's doing that.
Berenson injects quite a dose of romance in this installment when in the midst of all this chaos, ex-husband Bob returns to town, clearly bitten by the reconciliation bug. I have to admit, Melanie's divided loyalties between maintaining a stable home life for son Davey (who is ecstatic to have his father so close) and yearning for her missing true love made for better suspense than the actual mystery, the disappearance and even more bizarre reappearance of Sara, a character I came to like less and less as the story progressed.
I have enjoyed the Melanie Travis series since its inception, but with Once Bitten I fear Berenson may be hitting her stride. However, the weaknesses detected in the actual mystery (the aforementioned Sara and her conflicts with her even less likable parents...Melanie herself admits she can't stand them) are bolstered by the compelling subplot. I certainly hope for the next book the mystery will be a bit meatier (no pun intended).
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By A Customer on August 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Life is finally come together for dog show owner Melanie Travis. Even though she was supposed to be getting married during Christmas, she has come to grips that this is not going to happen. Her fiancé left for an unspecified time to find himself. She is delighted that her brother is getting married to Bertie, another person involved dog shows, in six weeks but she is horrified that her ex husband is going to be around for the same month and a half trying to win her back.
When Bertie's wedding planner Sara disappears leaving behind an ominous note, she asks Melanie for help in tracking down the missing woman. Before they can get very far in their inquiries, Sara's cottage burns down, which leaves behind the remains of a skeleton that can only be identified by dental records. When Melanie and company learn that arson caused the fire and that Sara remains alive though still out of sight, the group increases their efforts to find answers.
ONCE BITTEN, like the rest of the Melanie Travis mysteries, takes readers into the colorful and exciting world of dog competitions. Long time fans of this amateur sleuth series will be ecstatic that Faith finally won enough shows to be considered Champion by the AKC. Laurien Berenson has written another fine work in this delightful mystery series.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
How can a woman write a continuing series of mysteries about dogs/dog shows without repeating herself, yet always remain fresh and a real page-turner? THAT is the mystery behind all of the Laurien Berenson books and this is no exception.

"Once Bitten" is a wonderful book by a truly talented writer. (I find it rather fun to try keeping them in chronological order, by how old Melanie Travis's son is in each book...I'm kind of curious in that way!) At any rate, "Once Bitten," you'll find it hard to stop at just one Berenson book until you have them all and excitedly await her next mystery.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Bob is back in town and there are wedding bells a'ringin! The only negative part of this is that the wedding bells are not for Melanie and Sam - they are for Frank and Bertie. Sam, as a matter of fact, has disappeared: he decided that he needed to go "find himself". So, Melanie is unsure of what to do and where to go with her life. Which is when Bob decides to come back from Texas after divorcing his 20 year old wife and try to rekindle the romance with Melanie. Part of this book deals with these complications in the love life of Melanie Travis and the turmoil caused by all of this.

The other parts of the book deal with the mystery. You see, one of Bertie's friends is a bit of a flighty person whom Bertie decides to help by hiring her to be the wedding coordinator for Bertie's wedding. Almost immediately following the beginning of the work - and with only six weeks remaining until the wedding itself - Sara Bentley disappears. Then, a woman's body is found in Sara's home which had just burned down. Bertie is frantic, she asks Melanie to help, and off to the races we go!

The third part of this book has to do with Melanie's dog Faith and her quest to win enough points in the dog show circuit to become a Champion. As is usual with these mysteries featuring Melanie Travis, the dog show circuit and the people and personalities involved with it provide the background story to a lot of the action. Faith and the other dogs are very key contributors to the mayhem.

So, how do these three story lines mesh together in one book? Very well. This is a very readable, very enjoyable, member of the series with all the puzzles and interaction well thought out and logical. All that is, but for one last one.
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