Who doesn’t love puppies? Certainly not me. So when I was asked to serve as a puppy wrangler at a charity event modeled after the famous Puppy Bowl, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. My name is Melanie Travis, and aside from being a wife, mother of two sons, and a special needs teacher, I am also an avid breeder and exhibitor of Standard Poodles. So dealing with puppies is right up my alley.

What I’m not nearly as good at, is dealing with the humans that come long with them.

Millionaire philanthropist, Leo Brody, was the driving force behind the event. And unfortunately for me, all nine of his grown children were determined to put in an appearance at Puppy Fest and lend a (not particularly) helpful hand to the proceedings. In other words, they all wanted to butter up their old man.

That plan backfired spectacularly when the bowl game started and Mr. Brody failed to show up at the ballroom of his seaside mansion where the event was being filmed for broadcast. Having volunteered to make myself useful, I was the one who was sent to locate the missing millionaire. I found him in his office, lying dead on the floor, with his much-younger mistress bending over him.

In Leo Brody’s case, charity hadn’t begun at home.

With three ex-wives and a blended family that included not only the adult children but also six grandchildren, the contentious, chaotic Brody clan was definitely not the Brady Bunch. And with a vast inheritance on the line, the finger-pointing started almost immediately. Trying to sort out those nine squabbling siblings was like trying to herd cats. Worse still, none of them seemed able to keep their story straight for longer than it took to tell it.

Fortunately, things seem to be proceeding much more smoothly on the home front. As long as you don’t count the fact that while my son, Davey, and I were driving along a quiet country road, a passing driver stopped his car to dump out a malnourished puppy, then immediately sped away. As a result, our pack of Standard Poodles has been joined by a small, spotted mutt whom Davey has named Bud. We’ve been checking with local vets and animal control, and putting out feelers online. But even though Bud just got here, he’s already stolen our hearts. We’re all hoping desperately that nobody shows up to claim him.

With two mysteries to solve, I’m going to have a busy summer. But I’m a Mom so I’m used to that. Multi-tasking is one of the things I do best. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. Now if only I can figure out how to stay one step ahead of Leo Brody’s vindictive, money grubbing, children, everything should turn out just fine.

You can read more about Melanie in Murder at the Puppy Fest, the 20th book in the “Melanie Travis” mystery series, coming June 27, 2017

Frolicking with dogs is Melanie Travis’s idea of heaven. So when she’s invited to be a “puppy wrangler” at a benefit for a local dog rescue, the last thing she expects is to be chasing after a tricky killer.

As a busy mom and pedigree Poodle owner, Melanie has little time to spare. Still, she doesn’t mind helping out at Puppy Fest, an annual fundraiser to benefit Puppy Posse, a local dog rescue organization. Considering the venue—Belle Haven mansion, owned by wealthy philanthropist Leo Brody—it’s shaping up to be the can’t-miss charity event of the summer. Unfortunately, when Melanie’s breeding background lands her in the doghouse with Jane, Leo’s snappy daughter who runs the rescue, Melanie finds herself simultaneously managing Puppy Fest and the millionaire’s hopelessly fractious family.

But once Puppy Fest kicks off, Leo is nowhere to be found—until Melanie discovers his current mistress crouching over his dead body. According to police, the father of nine’s severe nut allergy went into overdrive after he accidentally consumed a contaminated cookie. However, Libby, one of Leo’s children and a friend of Melanie’s Aunt Peg, believes someone deliberately put him down for good. And now, she’s begging a reluctant Melanie to unearth the secrets hidden by the Brody pack. But the closer Melanie gets to fetching answers, the higher the stakes become—and the more she realizes that she’s chasing a criminal who’s been groomed to win.

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About the author
Laurien Berenson is the author of more than thirty novels that have sold 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 twenty Melanie Travis canine mysteries including the newest book, Murder At The Puppy Fest.

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.

Connect with Laurien at www.LaurienBerenson.com and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Murder at the Puppy Fest. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends June 26, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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