Live and Let Growl by Laurien Berenson is the 19th book in the “Melanie Travis” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, July 2016
When her Aunt Peg lands a gig as judge at a Kentucky dog show, Melanie Travis welcomes the opportunity for a road trip. Too bad a killer has planned a deadly detour…
For a dog lover like Melanie, the opportunity to attend the Kentuckiana Dog Show Cluster is not to be missed. Fortunately, the timing coincides with her spring break from teaching, so she heads for central Kentucky with her sister-in-law Bertie and Aunt Peg, who’s accepted a week-long judging assignment. Once there, Aunt Peg reconnects with an old friend, Ellie Gates Wanamaker, a former Standard Poodle exhibitor and a member of a well-heeled Kentucky family. Miss Ellie has been out of the dog show world for more than a decade, but when Melanie invites her to spectate at the Louisville Kennel Club dog show, she’s eager to accompany her.
Miss Ellie’s presence at the expo center, however, provokes mixed reactions from exhibitors she hasn’t seen in years, including some outright animosity. The following day Melanie learns that Miss Ellie has suffered a fatal accident while exercising her dogs. Aunt Peg, however, suspects foul play. Wishing to avoid any scandal, Miss Ellie’s pedigreed family prefers to let sleeping dogs lie, but as Melanie begins to sniff around, she discovers Miss Ellie had many secrets, both in the dog show world and amongst her Kentucky kin . . .
I always have a good time on my visits with Melanie and her friends and this book does not disappoint. The comfortable tone and the pacing kept me engaged in all facets of this light drama that involved dogs, race horses and murder. The descriptive narrative was nicely done, putting me smack dab in the middle of all the action. The mystery was very light with the focus more on the happenings surrounding the dogs and the race horses. The author did a great job in plotting out this story by providing a good list of suspects and I liked how each character played a pivotal role leading up to the apprehension of the killer. This was an enjoyable read and I can’t wait for the next book in this terrific series.