Kentucky Bound with Melanie Travis by Laurien Berenson

Live and Let GrowlIt all started when I had a dream about a horse.

Next thing I knew Aunt Peg was meddling in my life again and I was on my way to Kentucky: home of bluegrass, bourbon, and Thoroughbred horses. You’re probably wondering what any of that has to do with Standard Poodles. Frankly so was I.

My Aunt Peg is an expert on all things canine and dog shows are her favorite milieu. Her involvement with the Poodle breed is her life’s work. So this sudden detour into the world of horse breeding—prompted by an unexpected bequest from an old friend–came as a surprise.

According to Aunt Peg, the make and shape of a useful animal can be recognized by an educated eye even across different species. She says that it’s all about balance and proportion, and the animal’s ability to do the job for which it was bred. I say that Standard Poodles are as different from Thoroughbreds as chalk is to cheese.

horse1If you’ve met Aunt Peg before, you can probably guess who won that argument. So here we are in Kentucky. We’ll be spending half the week at the Kentuckiana dog show cluster in Louisville and the other half checking out Thoroughbred farms in Lexington.

Our local advisor for this unlikely endeavor is Ellie Gates Wanamaker. Miss Ellie is a former Poodle breeder and another old friend of Aunt Peg’s. She also enjoys the privilege of being a member of one of Kentucky’s finest blue blood families. Miss Ellie has promised to help us make good connections in the Thoroughbred industry. With her guidance, Aunt Peg hopes to steer clear of the pitfalls that newcomers to the world of horseracing have been known to fall prey to.

It all seemed like an excellent plan until Miss Ellie turned up dead.

Nobody was surprised–least of all me–when Aunt Peg decided that we couldn’t leave Kentucky until we knew what caused her old friend’s demise. But since Peg is busy judging at the dog show cluster it looks as though that chore is going to fall to me.

horse2Fortunately, I find that I’m developing a taste for good bourbon and fast horses. I’m also discovering that Kentucky is a very different world than the one I’m used to. Miss Ellie warned Aunt Peg and me to be careful and she wasn’t kidding. The dog show world can be cut-throat but it’s a ray of sunshine compared to what these horse people get up to when they think no one is looking.


Live and Let Growl is the 19th book in the Melanie Travis mystery series, published by 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 . . .

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About the author
Laurien Berenson is the author of thirty novels that have sold more than two million copies worldwide. Her cozy mystery series revolves around the world of dog shows, a milieu she knows well as her family has been involved in the sport of dogs for three generations. There are currently nineteen Melanie Travis canine mysteries including the newest book, Live and Let Growl.

Berenson is a four-time winner of the Maxwell Award for Fiction from the Dog Writers Assoc. of America and a winner of the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. She is also an Agatha and Macavity nominee. Her work has appeared in The New York Times as well as numerous magazines. She is a graduate of Vassar College, and she and her husband live on a farm in Kentucky, surrounded by horses and dogs.

Find her at www.laurienberenson.com and on Facebook.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Live and Let Growl. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end August 1, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

43 responses to “Kentucky Bound with Melanie Travis by Laurien Berenson

  1. Nancy Roessner

    Oh, oh, Melanie had better not overdo the Kentucky bourbon. Love this series!

  2. Donna Gantt

    I’d love to win this book. Thanks!

  3. Karlene Barger

    I’ve loved this whole series and can’t wait to read this latest book!

  4. Have enjoyed all the books in this series so far. Can’t wait to read this latest.

  5. New series for me. But I love dog stories and mysteries so this one sounds like a fun read. And it’s set in my area of the country.

  6. This is a new series for me. I know a little about dog shows, our kids used to show them in 4H. Our daughter went to state one year. I will have to check out this series.

  7. Laurien Berenson’s character, Melanie Travis, is written as a character that is easily believed. I love watching the Westminister Dog Show since I’m a dog lover. I would love this book to call my own. robeader53@yahoo.com

  8. I’ve always liked this series. Thank you for the chance to win this newest installment.

  9. Wonderful series. Thanks for this captivating giveaway.

  10. If you love dogs and mysteries, you are sure to find a soft spot for the misadventures and murders in the Melanie Travis series. Aunt Peg’s strong sense of purpose and correctness is a perfect mix with Melanie’s more scattered approach to family, dog shows and life. Hoping Faith and Tar keep the equines and humans under control with their poodle sense!

  11. I have always enjoyed the Melanie Travis series! Always a fun plot and I just love the character development throughout the series. Adding horses to poodles is just the icing on the cake!

  12. I haven’t read this series yet, but as an animal lover, I will definitely add to my TBR list. I’m really looking forward to reading “Live and Let Growl”.

  13. Dogs, horses, and bourbon? Sounds good to me.

  14. Can’t wait to read the latest in a great series!

  15. I love dogs, horses, and mysteries—-thanks for the chance to win this book.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

  16. Patricia Lafferty

    Dogs, horses, a mystery, Kentucky….what a mysterious combination! I would love to win this book and give it to my library. Thank you for the chance!

  17. Linda Herold

    I would love to win this! Thanks so much for the chance!! lindaherold999@gmail.com

  18. This must not be able to go wrong. Dogs, horses, and bourbon!

  19. Mary Jane H.

    This book sounds delightfully funny. Thanks for the chance to catch up with Melanie again!

  20. OH what an interesting twist looking forward to reading this one

  21. Hey Laurie, love that you got horses into Melanie’s life! I’m sure I’ll love this one as much as the rest!

  22. I knew Laurien back in the days she was actively breeding and showing Mini Poodles.My club had her as a guest, signing books at one of our specialty shows.(Fayetteville NC) I have read multiple times All of the books and Look forward to the newest one with eager anticipation!

  23. Kay Bennett

    I love each and every one of the books in this series. I cant wait to read this new release. It would great to win a copy. thanks for the opportunity to do just that.

  24. This series sounds too fun. Great post!

  25. elainehroberson

    Great series. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  26. Love this series. We are a poodle family and their antics are so funny. I would love to win a copy of this new book.

  27. I love this series! Would love a copy of this book!

  28. I have read every book in this series and I love this series!!! I always look forward to the next book in the series!!! Would love to have a signed copy!!!

  29. conniepsaunders

    The title caught my attention and the review sounds great!
    Connie from KY 🙂

  30. Trish Tayor

    I show dogs [Salukis] myself and love horses! Too bad about my teenage experience with bourbon [shudder]. Looking hugely forward this new Laurien Berenson book. Have read them all and know I’ll love this one too!

  31. That is absolutely the cutest puppy ever. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this book.

  32. Beverly Guy

    AWWWWWW….first let me say that the adorable puppy on the cover of this new book is absolutely soooooo precious!!!! That really drew me to this new book right away. This is a new author to me and will enjoy getting to know her by reading her books. I love, love, love horses and am really looking forward to seeing what the story is with them. Sounds like a really fabulous new book and can’t wait to read it!!!! Thanks so much Dru for the chance to win. God bless you!!!!

  33. Love this series and now you are sending the characters to my home state of Kentucky…..how exciting!!

    thank you for the chance!!

  34. Marilyn Watson

    Horses are beautiful aren’t they and Kentucky sounds gorgeous I always wanted to visit…Love to read this…thank you…
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

  35. This is such a neat story. A new author and book to enjoy. Thanks for the chance to read this one sooner

  36. Count me in on this giveaway…..
    Thank you!!!!

  37. Jennifer Harman

    This was a great book as always! Loved the story line and loved that there were horses in it!

  38. I cannot wait to get my hands on this new book!

  39. I am so excited to read the latest in this enchanting series!! The heroine Melanie Travis is fresh and funny, and as a breeder/exhibitor, I so appreciate the educational aspects of the series.

  40. Loved this horse story. It combined two of my favorite worlds with my favorite people, Aunt Peg & Melanie! I sat down with the book the other day thinking I had a couple of hours in which to read and it ended up being a day long adventure in Kentucky! Thank you Laurien Berenson for these great adventures in a very accurate world of dog shows and horses. I sure want in on your giveaway <3.

  41. I’m looking forward to joining Melanie and Aunt Oeg in Blue Grass country!

  42. Carol Johnson

    I happened on “A Pedigree to Die For” just after its publication, and have been addicted since! I can’t name a favorite in the series, but since I live in Cincinnati, loved having “Live and Let Growl” located in my back yard. I’m generally not a fan of the “cozy mystery” genre, but Laurien has made the characters in this series so real that they could be relatives and neighbors. Hope I win the autographed book!!!