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   A Pedigree to Die For

A Pedigree to Die For
by Laurien Berenson

Category: Fiction / Mystery
304 pages; ISBN: 1575663740

Rating: 8/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Kathryn Lively


I don't know anything about dog breeding, aside from what video snatches of dog shows I happen to catch on Animal Planet as I'm flipping channels. I don't even own a dog (apartment rules, sigh), so when I picked up A Pedigree to Die For I had hoped for at least enough coherent explanations of the breeding and show process to help me understand what was happening in the story without detracting too much from the mystery.

I'm happy to say Laurien Berenson, in this debut installment of Melanie Travis mysteries, does a great job of balancing suspense and milieu, about as well as Melanie herself balances single motherhood and sleuthing. It helps here that Melanie, the niece of a champion Standard Poodle breeder, knows little about dog breeding as well, and we learn with her.

Of course, while we're learning the difference between a Standard and a Toy Poodle, Melanie is changing hats at breakneck speed -- from mother to aggravated sister to compliant niece to sleuth to summer school teacher and back again. When a prized stud Poodle from Melanie's aunt's kennel is "dognapped", Aunt Peg convinces Melanie to go undercover and scour the dog breeding community for clues and paw prints.

A Pedigree to Die For is a fun, "cozy" read, where the mystery lies in the chase and not in gruesome killings. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more about Melanie going to the dogs in the future.


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