Watchdog

Laurien Berenson, Author, Berenson, Author Kensington Publishing Corporation $20 (320p) ISBN 978-1-57566-350-0
Standard Poodle owner and special education teacher Melanie Travis becomes her brother's watchdog in her fourth outing (following Hair of the Dog, 1997). The latest entrepreneurial pipe dream of brother Frank involves a partnership with local developer Marcus Rattigan to convert an old general store into a trendy coffee shop in Stamford, Conn. After Rattigan is killed by a falling skylight at the site and Frank becomes the most likely suspect, Melanie, urged on by her garrulous Aunt Peg, again tries her hand at detecting. She learns of Rattigan's acrimonious divorce, his spurned lover and the concerned citizens who are fighting the opening of a coffee shop in their family oriented neighborhood. Melanie thinks all are more likely suspects than her brother and pursues their involvement with Rattigan. Meanwhile, she shows her poodle, Faith, in the animal's first season in the adult class and learns from Aunt Peg of Rattigan's previous involvement in the dog world. Together with Aunt Peg and the student, Melanie sorts out the suspects and identifies the culprit. Throughout the proceedings, readers are given a backstage look at the world of American Kennel Club-sanctioned dog shows. As is her wont, Berenson's writing is as warm and fuzzy as the dogs, a tact that should satisfy fans but is unlikely to extend her readership beyond them. Author tour. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1998
Release date: 11/01/1998
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