Best In Showby Laurien Berenson
There are dog shows. And then there's The Poodle Club of America National Specialty Dog Show. For poodle purists, it's the pinnacle of the season, drawing competitors and spectators
Murder's on the ticket when intrepid poodle breeder Melanie Travis travels to Maryland for a world-famous dog show where the competition isn't the only thing that's cutthroat. . .
There are dog shows. And then there's The Poodle Club of America National Specialty Dog Show. For poodle purists, it's the pinnacle of the season, drawing competitors and spectators from all over the world.
Once in Maryland, Melanie is put to work selling raffle tickets by the co-chairs of the raffle committee, Betty Jean and Edith Jean Boone. Sixty-ish steel magnolias from the South, the reclusive sisters make few appearances. But this year, they have a silver Toy puppy that has already caused quite a buzz on the show circuit.
While the poodles remain well behaved, it's their owners and handlers who start acting up. And when Betty Jean is found dead at the host hotel, murder takes center stage. But this is the PCA--and the show must go on. As Edith Jean staunchly resumes her duties, Melanie starts searching for clues, and comes up with a compelling cast of suspects whose actions prove that in the dog-eat-dog world of showing, a life can be as easily lost as a blue ribbon. And that unlike cats, dogs--and their owners--have only one to risk. . .
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Melanie is leaving her son behind in Connecticut with his father while she and her Aunt Peg travel to Maryland to attend the annual Poodle Club of America event. Melanie is going to show her puppy Eve while her aunt is going to make sure everyone knows their job. Melanie¿s lover Sam Driver is also going to be at the dog show and Melanie hopes to have some quality time alone with him. Aunt Peg ropes her niece into helping the Boone Sisters, Edith Jean and Betty Jean into selling raffles. Although the sisters are eleven months apart in age, they look like identical twins. When Melanie walks Eve in the designated area of the hotel, she hears a scream and when she and others look to see what happened they find Betty Jean lying dead on the ground. When the police start investigating, they discover she was murdered but this time Melanie vows not to get involved, a promise that doesn¿t last the full week of the conference. There are plenty of suspects who could have wanted the victim dead but readers won¿t be able to figure out this complex, multi-layered who done it until the author is ready to reveal the identity of the killer. Members of the audience may have fragments of the solution but Laurien Berenson holds back one shocking, unbelievable fact that changes the whole picture and the best part is that the clue is hidden in plain sight. BEST IN SHOW is a mystery and dog lover¿s delight. Harriet Klausner