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Game Of Dog Bones
Melanie Travis #25
BY Laurien Berenson

June 30, 2020/ ISBN 9781496718372
Mystery/ Cozy

Reviewed by Elise Cooper


Game 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.

Reviewed 2020