Melanie Travis #25
BY Laurien Berenson
June 30, 2020/ ISBN 9781496718372
by Elise Cooper
of Dog Bones by Laurien Berenson brings back her enchanting
character, Melanie Travis. Anyone who has ever read one of these
books knows that murder follows Melanie like a dutiful canine
where she must become an amateur sleuth to solve a murder. What
makes these books special is how the author also adds tidbits
about the four-legged canine friends and her family.
In Game of Dog Bones, Melanie and family are heading
to New York from their Connecticut home to watch Aunt Peg judge
in the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Victor
Durbin has been a thorn in Aunt Peg’s side. She was instrumental
in getting him kicked out of the Paugussett Poodle Club for
his unsavory practices with his dogs. Spiteful, he started his
own Empire Poodle Club, in which he slated his judging to be
opposite Peg's seminar, hoping to lure away her guests. He also
accosts Aunt Peg demanding that she have a drink with him.
"It is the first book that highlights this show. I have
always in the back of my mind wanted to include it in one of
my stories. For a long time, I wondered how to do it because
the show is in New York, and Melanie lives in Connecticut. The
first third of the book takes place in New York and at the Dog
Show. A man gets murdered there. I had never judged like Aunt
Peg, although I showed dogs for many years. A dog of mine once
received an Award of Merit. I did go through all the steps needed
to become a judge. To be a successful dog show judge, there
is a tremendous amount of traveling and being on the road. I
hate to live my life on an airplane, so I never did it."
The next morning before they are to head to the show, Peg calls
Melanie to tell her that Victor has been murdered and that she's
a suspect in the killing. She asks Melanie to sniff around and
see if she can figure out who had a motive to kill him. Unfortunately,
as Melanie digs up more clues, she puts herself in danger because
the killer does not want to be found.
Victor is "a scumbag, self-centered, unscrupulous, and
uncaring with basically nothing nice to say about him. He ran
a puppy café. I think they started in Asia. People can
go get a coffee and be surrounded by puppies. They are draped
over furniture, and people can interact with the live animals.
I have never been to one. People should wonder what happens
to the puppies when they grow up?"
An added bonus is how Berenson allows the readers to feel they
have traveled to the dog show. She explains the rationale behind
dog shows and purpose-bred dogs.