Laurien Berenson takes the bite out of crime with this fun
cozy mystery. With a thrilling crime to solve, a likable amateur
sleuth, poodles, a bulldog puppy, and interesting insider
information about the world of dog shows, readers will enjoy
her latest novel.
The author noted, “Some breeders have intricacies, which
makes it fun to put them in the cozy mystery. In this book,
the mystery hinged on the puppy. Since there is an element
of ridiculous to our real life, I want to show that through
a thrilling crime, readers can laugh as the characters get
into trouble. Melanie has a great tendency to do just that
because she cannot leave well enough alone. I think the dogs
are great companions that enable me to show the characters
humor, warmth, and humanity. Someone who loves dogs is a good
person. There is humor if you listen to people talking to
their dogs and wait for their canine friends to answer. If
you go to dog shows you will see so many people who appear
to look like their dogs.”
The main character, Melanie Travis, is a dog-lover who welcomes
a few friends to participate in a book club she names the
"Bite Club" But her opinionated, bossy Aunt Peg
invites herself and several others to join and soon takes
over leadership of the club. One of the members, Evan Major,
asks Melanie to help train his adorable Bulldog puppy, Bully
since she has six dogs of her own and has also shown dogs.
Life imitates the southern mystery the club is reading when
Evan is murdered. The hunt for the killer begins with Melanie
and Aunt Peg in the fray. Having been the last person seen
at his residence, Melanie becomes a person of interest. Determined
to clear her name, she begins to investigate, discovering
that the meek Evan was the computer expert for an investment
company that was no more than a Ponzi scheme. The angry investors,
some of whom are members of Bite Club, lost almost everything.
She and Aunt Peg begin to wonder if one of them have gone
looking for revenge. Melanie and her aunt are determined to
get to the bottom of what happened.
I wrote Melanie in the first book as a single mother with
a four-year-old child whose husband left her. She was struggling
to get by until Aunt Peg approached her for help. Now she
is married with two children. Melanie was thirty when the
series started, and now she is forty. Aunt Peg is bossy, opinionated,
a competitor, intimidating, a meddler, and very sharp. Aunt
Peg is an expert that will never tolerate any foolishness.
She is seventy years old and six feet tall. People thought
I based her on someone from the dog show world, Annie Clark.
This is not true. I based her on a friend of mine named Helen.
Aunt Peg is the only character based on a real person.”
What’s there not to like with a book that is a great
read highlighting interesting characters, awesome dog show
scenes, and a great mystery. The humor sprinkled throughout
the story, along with the antics of the adorable canines,
the children, and Aunt Peg only adds to this enjoyable story.