The Portrait of Doreene Gray: A Chihuahua Mystery [NOOK Book]


“A little bit X-Files, a little bit Agatha Christie and a whole lotta charming. If you like your mysteries baffling, bizarre and, above all, fun, you're going to love it.”

--Steve Hockensmith, author of Holmes on the Range


In this laugh-out-loud-funny mystery, Angus MacGregor and the zany staff of Tripping Magazine, a travel magazine that covers paranormal destinations, investigate a bizarre story in a town brimming with secrets. Forty ...

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The Portrait of Doreene Gray: A Chihuahua Mystery

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“A little bit X-Files, a little bit Agatha Christie and a whole lotta charming. If you like your mysteries baffling, bizarre and, above all, fun, you're going to love it.”

--Steve Hockensmith, author of Holmes on the Range


In this laugh-out-loud-funny mystery, Angus MacGregor and the zany staff of Tripping Magazine, a travel magazine that covers paranormal destinations, investigate a bizarre story in a town brimming with secrets. Forty years ago, Maureene Pinter painted a portrait of her twin sister, Doreene. In an eerie turn of events, Doreene hasn’t aged, although her portrait has. When Doreene decides to sell the portrait, the Tripping team travel to Doreene’s mansion in Port Townsend, Washington, a Victorian town wreathed in mists and mysteries, to get the scoop on this intriguing story.


When strange strips of paper appear in her soup, Doreene invites Tripping to stay and solve the town’s many puzzles. Why does a man named Enrico Russo sit in a white Impala outside the mansion? And what does Lupita, the housekeeper, fear?  Soon, it becomes clear that while Doreene has kept her youthful looks, the past is catching up with her. Packed with laughs and featuring a mystery with a delightful literary twist, Esri Allbritten's The Portrait of Doreene Gray is a fabulously entertaining tale.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The three quirky main characters add an appealingly hip edge to the cozy core of Allbritten’s sequel to 2011’s Chihuahua of the Baskervilles, though readers should be prepared for a less engaging plot this round. Angus MacGregor, Michael Abernathy, and Suki Oota of Tripping magazine, which covers travel destinations with paranormal appeal, make a trip from the magazine’s Boulder, Colo., headquarters to Port Townsend, Wash., where artist Maureene Pinter has painted a portrait of her twin sister, Doreene Gray. Like Wilde’s original, Doreene’s portrait ages while she does not. When Doreene is found dead in a locked room, the police assume it’s a suicide or accident. But the portrait now looks young again, so the journalists keep investigating. Among the suspects are Doreene’s resentful sister and slick art auctioneer Maxwell Thorne. Dog lovers may be disappointed by the minor role canines play despite the subtitle. Agent: Jennifer Unter, the Unter Agency. (July)
From the Publisher
Praise for Chihuahua of the Baskervilles:

"Frightfully funny."

Mystery Scene

"A light and engaging tale with charming characters that will appeal to those outside of both mystery and canine genres."

Kirkus Reviews

"Eccentric characters, a lively pace, and adorable tiny dogs... [For] dog lovers and those who like their mysteries on the light side."

Publishers Weekly

"Likable characters, an intriguing mystery, and a quaint setting. Her series debut will appeal to cozy mystery lovers."

Library Journal

Kirkus Reviews
The staff of a supernatural magazine can't decide if its latest mystery is a case of human trickery or something more. When Doreene Pinter decides to auction off a portrait of herself painted by her identical twin, Maureene, the news of the sale makes the local press in Port Townsend, Wash. Although Maureene's art has some fame in its own right, the reason for the notoriety of this particular sale is in the change of the painting over the years. Like Dorian Gray, Doreene hasn't seemed to age a day since the painting was completed, though the painting, as in Oscar Wilde's, has fared less well. The mystery surrounding this phenomenon brings the staff of Tripping, the magazine for all your supernatural needs, to town to get the story firsthand. Helmed by fearless Scot Angus MacGregor, its editor and cofounder, Tripping also counts among its staff the firm nonbeliever Michael Abernathy and the quirky and eye-catching photographer Suki Oota. Once assembled, the crew is ready to get down to the business of finding the truth, though Angus and Michael wind up bickering about everything from the nature of the supernatural to the use of aphorisms, which Michael dryly describes as "The spray cheese of wisdom." Fast and furious wit like this helps move the tale along, though Allbritten (Chihuahua of the Baskervilles, 2011, etc.) still insists on saddling the otherwise charming Tripping staff with Doreene's Chihuahua, Gigi, in an effort to put a Chihuahua in every pot. Streamlining the complexities of this series by focusing on dialogue and character development rather than elaborating everyone's connection to Chihuahuas might expand its reach beyond readers infatuated with the breed.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250011510
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/3/2012
  • Series: A Tripping Magazine Mystery , #2
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 481,306
  • File size: 617 KB

Meet the Author

ESRI ALLBRITTEN is the author of Chihuahua of the Baskervilles, the first book in this series. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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Read an Excerpt

The Portrait of Doreene Gray

A Chihuahua Mystery
By Esri Allbritten

Minotaur Books

Copyright © 2012 Esri Allbritten
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780312569167


Outside the darkened windows of Doreene Gray’s second-floor bedroom, a squall buffeted the house and whistled across the gingerbread trimming. A mile away, it sang through the rigging of ships in the harbor of Port Townsend, Washington, whipping the black water into whitecaps, then speckling the foam with rain.
Doreene slid out of bed, grimacing slightly at a twinge in her lower back. At fifty-eight, she could avoid many of the signs of age, but not all.
The young man beneath the sheets stretched one tanned arm across the bed. “Princessa.” His drowsy voice was further thickened by a Brazilian accent. “You can’t sleep?”
“Don’t have a panic attack, Reynaldo. I’m just going to the can.”
He muttered something and subsided.
Doreene felt her way across the darkened room, but instead of going to the bathroom, she found the door to a small adjoining bedroom that had been turned into a closet. Under her fingers, the old-fashioned lock plate slid aside to reveal a computerized keypad. Doreene silently tapped a code onto the faintly glowing keys.
Once inside, she shut the door and locked it from the other side. The sound of the storm disappeared, muffled by the surrounding racks of clothes. Still in the dark, Doreene pulled what felt like a coat off a hanger and arranged it at the foot of the door before switching on the light.
A cluttered dressing table sat in the middle of the room, its mirror supported by two upright posts. Doreene sat in the matching chair and leaned close to the mirror. She might have been nearing sixty, but she didn’t look a day over thirty. Blond hair curled gently over her shoulders, and her wide hazel eyes looked out from unlined skin.
“Eyebrows might be getting a little thin,” she murmured, running a finger against the fine hairs and then smoothing them back down.
The dressing table had space behind it. Doreene grasped the top edge of the oak mirror frame and rotated it downward. The back side swung into view, revealing a stretched and mounted canvas.
She winced a little at the sight of the hideous portrait. The original oil painting was almost hidden beneath pasted-on bits of paper. Tiny lines of writing served as the furrows that ran from nose to chin. Blotches of red and brown paper, torn from magazine pages, marred the cheeks with an impressionist collage of age.
Doreene pulled open the drawer of the table and removed a newspaper clipping.
Famous Portrait for Sale
Maureene Pinter’s painting of identical twin sister to be sold at auction.
The photo below the subtitle showed Doreene’s sister, Maureene, one hand raised too late to hide her haggard face. She looked every bit of her age, and more.
Doreene gathered cosmetic-smeared tissues from the table and threw them in a nearby trash can until she uncovered a pair of nail scissors. Trimming carefully, she cut the picture of her sister’s face from the article, then looked from it to the artwork in front of her. “Neck, I think.”
She lay the trimmed photo down and found a bottle of foundation. After rubbing some of the makeup between finger and thumb, she carefully shaded the scrap of paper, holding it up to the portrait occasionally to check the color.
Next she uncapped a bottle of clear nail polish and brushed a few strokes on the back of the photo. After positioning it at the base of the portrait’s throat, she carefully pressed it into place.
Doreene studied her sister’s expression on the drying newsprint. “Didn’t expect me to put the painting up for sale, did you? And you have one more shock coming.”
As she leaned back, the newly applied photo merged into the impression of wattled skin. Doreene stroked the smooth column of her own throat and smiled. “If I do say so myself, I’ve become quite the artist.”

Copyright © 2012 by Esri Allbritten


Excerpted from The Portrait of Doreene Gray by Esri Allbritten Copyright © 2012 by Esri Allbritten. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 18, 2012

    Highest Recommendation

    This second installment in Esri Albritten's Chihuahua series doesn't disappoint. Continuing to use classic literature as a jumping-off point, the author weaves quirky yet believable characters, vividly depicted settings and landscapes and masterful plotting into a delicious and delightful book. More, please!

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  • Posted August 18, 2012

    Amusing mystery.

    Funny, intriguing mystery. The repartee between the characters is highly amusing and fast-paced, and (for a change) I couldn't figure out whodunnit right up until the end.


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  • Posted August 18, 2012

    Adorable, and I'm not even that fond of Chihuahuas!

    Adorable, and I'm not even that fond of Chihuahuas!

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    Posted November 16, 2012

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    Posted May 2, 2013

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