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A Pedigree to Die For (Melanie Travis Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: Melanie Travis Mysteries
  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington (August 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758208545
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758208545
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 0.8 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (274 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,871,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The world of show dogs-and their handlers, judges, breeders and owners-provides the principle background in this competent, somewhat drawn-out debut. Melanie Travis, 30, a teacher in Stamford, Conn., and the divorced mother of four-year-old Davey, doesn't own a dog, although her aunt Peg and uncle Max breed standard poodles. One morning Max is found dead of a heart attack on the kennel floor; after the funeral, Peg asks Melanie to find Beau, the kennel's star stud dog that has been missing since the night Max died. Melanie, whose summer job has fallen through, agrees but doesn't necessarily agree with Peg that someone else must have been in the kennel that night. Setting out on the dog-show circuit, ostensibly seeking a world-class mate for her poodle, Melanie meets assorted handlers and breeders, a respected judge and an attractive hunk named Sam Driver who had tried very hard to buy Beau from Max. In fairly predictable girl-sleuth tradition, Melanie also encounters murder and the possibility of romance. A bonanza for ardent dog fanciers and for others, a likable heroine in a smoothly paced romantic mystery.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This first-of-a-series from Berenson (Deep Cover, Zebra, 1994) also focuses on the world of show dogs but highlights a child as well. Teacher Melanie Travis, with her delightfully rambunctious four-year-old in tow, helps her poodle-breeding aunt track down the prize stud animal that disappeared the night her husband died. Berenson, who avoids most of the technicalities of dog judging, centers instead on the suspect personalities involved: a moody, dog-hating neighbor; an unctious, ambitious dog handler; and a handsome rival poodle-owner. Naturally flowing prose, extended suspense, and an infectiously upbeat single mother as protagonist make this a special treat.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

What a fun mystery to read!
Carolyn S Main
If you like dogs or especially if you are involved in showing dogs, this is a wonderful series.
K. A. Stevenson
The pacing, introduction of characters and plot development are all well done.
Geckomac

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By "kathrynlively" on December 4, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I don't know anything about dog breeding, aside from what video snatches of dog shows I happen to catch on Animal Planet as I'm flipping channels. I don't even own a dog (apartment rules, sigh), so when I picked up A Pedigree to Die For I had hoped for at least enough coherent explanations of the breeding and show process to help me understand what was happening in the story without detracting too much from the mystery.
I'm happy to say Laurien Berenson, in this debut installment of Melanie Travis mysteries, does a great job of balancing suspense and milieu, about as well as Melanie herself balances single motherhood and sleuthing. It helps here that Melanie, the niece of a champion Standard Poodle breeder, knows little about dog breeding as well, and we learn with her.
Of course, while we're learning the difference between a Standard and a Toy Poodle, Melanie is changing hats at breakneck speed -- from mother to aggravated sister to compliant niece to sleuth to summer school teacher and back again. When a prized stud Poodle from Melanie's aunt's kennel is "dognapped", Aunt Peg convinces Melanie to go undercover and scour the dog breeding community for clues and paw prints.
A Pedigree to Die For is a fun, "cozy" read, where the mystery lies in the chase and not in gruesome killings. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more about Melanie going to the dogs in the future.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By L Smith VINE VOICE on July 26, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Being a fan of the Dog Lover's Mystery series by Susan Conant, I decided to try the first book in the Melanie Travis mystery series by Laurien Berenson. While the two series are quite a bit different in style (Conant's books are more cerebral and the mysteries more complex), both contain interesting characters and lots of information about dogs.
In this book, we meet Melanie, a single mother strapped for cash who agrees to help her Aunt Peg find a missing champion poodle stud, Beau. Her uncle was found dead of an apparent heart attack in the kennel area, and when he was found, Beau was gone. Being suspicious, Melanie's aunt is convinced that someone took the dog to use as a stud dog, and Melanie goes undercover at several dog shows to get information on the dog's whereabouts. Meeting an attractive exhibitor with a strong motive for stealing the dog, Melanie must stay focused on her task and when another death occurs, she steps up the investigation to find both a killer and the missing dog.
I enjoyed this first book for the plot (there were several twists and turns I never saw coming) and for the background information. Having only read this first book, I was expecting that Melanie would somehow actually get involved with showing dogs, and when that did not happen I was a bit disappointed. I was also disappointed that her wealthy Aunt Peg did not offer to pay her for the time spent looking for her missing dog since it is hardly a secret that Melanie is a struggling single mother. Other than these minor complaints, I enjoyed this book and look forward to more doggie adventures with Melanie. Enjoy!
A Cozy Lover
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Carol Mello on December 1, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I checked this book out of the local branch library. When I first started reading it, I was lukewarm about it and thinking I would return it (I don't feel I have to finish something I am reading for fun if it isn't fun!). One night, I decided to give it a second chance. I ended up really enjoying it once I got past the first chapter. Now I am hunting down the rest of the series.
Melanie's husband left her when her son was 10 months old. She's been supporting herself and her son ever since. She's wary of men (her most recent lover just took off to Las Vegas and married a show girl), short on money, trying to be a good mom to her son, and doesn't get along with her relatives. In this book, her Uncle Max dies and his favorite stud dog is stolen. Melanie's forceful Aunt Peg convinces her to help her find the missing stud dog (actually, she wanted Melanie's feckless brother to do it but he declines). Along the way, Melanie learns about showing dogs, how her parents really died, and draws slightly closer to her remaining relatives. And her Aunt Peg fixes her up with a "stud"--a Mel Gibson look-alike.
I read some of the reviews of her other books and one reviewer complained because Melanie's son is dragged into the story and he whines alot. Don't listen to that reviewer unless you hate kids. Yes, Melanie's son is in all of the books in the series. She's a single mother! Of course he's going to be mentioned a lot. I have a son who is older now but Ms. Berenson is aptly descriptive of parenthood--the good and the bad.
I really like the way the series develops. I enjoy the characters of her Aunt Peg, her Aunt Rose, and her feckless brother Frank. As the series continues, more of the personality of these relatives is developed.
Read more ›
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By fr hunting on March 8, 1998
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book as a gift for my wife and made the mistake of reading the first few pages - I was hooked. Ms. Berenson writes an excellent mystery and has Standard Poodles and Poodle breeders down to a tee. This book is a good read for anyone but if you've been owed by or known a Standard Poodles you're in for a real treat.
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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. Please friend me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/laurie.berenson?ref=tn_tnmn Or visit my website at www.laurienberenson.com I love to stay in touch with readers!

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