Dogs and Humor…and Laurien Berenson! - Dark Streets
Laurien Berenson is a gal who gets to combine two of her favorite things in her career: dogs and writing humorous cozy mysteries!
Laurien is the author of the popular Melanie Travis mysteries, published by Kensington. For those of you not acquainted with Laurien’s series, here’s a brief run down:
We first meet Melanie Travis in A PEDIGREE TO DIE FOR. Melanie is thirty, a teacher in Connecticut, the divorced mother of four year old Davey and doesn’t own a dog, although her aunt and uncle breed poodles. When her uncle is found dead of a heart attack on the kennel floor, her aunt asks Melanie to find Beau, Beau, the kennel's star stud dog that has been missing since the night Uncle Max died. Melanie, whose summer job has fallen through, agrees but doesn't necessarily agree with Peg that someone else must have been in the kennel that night. Setting out on the dog-show circuit, ostensibly seeking a world-class mate for her poodle, Melanie meets assorted handlers and breeders, a respected judge and an attractive hunk named Sam Driver who had tried very hard to buy Beau from Max. Of course Melanie ends up finding Beau, solving the mystery, and becoming an amateur sleuth – one who’s lasted through 19 adventures so far!
For those of you who are wondering, yes, Melanie does own dogs herself! She was a breeder and exhibitor of Standard and Miniature Poodles for 30 years. (Although now she’s taking a break, and owns two smooth collies!)
Although many think I’m strictly a cat person, I like dogs too! (I had a poodle growing up) My personal favorite Melanie mystery is HOUNDED TO DEATH.
As the dog days of summer turn to the playful nip of autumn's chill, Melanie Travis is ready for a little relaxation. Her Aunt Peg has the perfect solution—a five-day symposium for dog show judges in Pennsylvania's idyllic Pocono Mountains. While Peg and Melanie's sister-in-law Bertie welcome the opportunity to socialize with the dog world's elite, the very pregnant Melanie embraces the chance to simply unwind.
But when renowned judge Charles Evans delivers a keynote address that irritates many of the attendees, the symposium's agenda takes a deadly turn. For later that evening, Charles is found floating face-down in the outdoor hot tub.
With few clues to go on, the police are baffled. But Melanie decides to take matters into her own hands, suspecting that a cold-blooded murderer may lurk among her fellow dog-lovers. . .
The latest Melanie Travis mystery, LIVE AND LET GROWL, takes schoolteacher Melanie from her home in Connecticut to Louisville, Ky., where Peg Trumbull, her energetic older aunt, is serving as a judge at the Kentuckiana Dog Show Cluster. Soon after arrival, Peg gets together with an old friend, Ellie Gates Wanamaker, who like her has had a long career raising poodles. After years away from the dog-show scene, Ellie agrees to attend the dog show, where she encounters some unfriendly exhibitors. Soon afterward, Ellie is found dead on her family’s horse farm. Peg doesn’t believe Ellie’s death was accidental, so the aunt and niece do some snooping that lands them in partnership with a friend from Ellie’s past who concurs with their suspicions.
And what of Laurien herself? Does she have a particular favorite Melanie Travis mystery? Well, aside from always hoping that her next book will be her favorite, she does! UNLEASHED, WATCHDOG, GONE WITH THE WOOF and LIVE AND LET GROWL.
I also like Gone with the Woof:
Despite a toddler and a house full of Standard Poodles, Melanie Travis can't pass up an opportunity to help legendary dog breeder Edward March pen his life story. But her enthusiasm flags when the breeder's angry son Andrew demands she stop working on the book. Why becomes imperative once Andrew is killed by a seemingly intentional hit-and-run and Melanie becomes Suspect #1. To get herself out of the dog house, Melanie sniffs out every possible clue, only to run into dead ends as fast as she's running out of time. And the longer the killer stays unleashed, the sooner she may end up in the dog house for good.
Find out more about Laurien and her books at www.laurienberenson.com
Columnist: Toni LoTempio
While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – and in Spring 2017, the new CAT RESCUE mysteries from Crooked Lane! She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at www.tclotempio.com and www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com.