ONCE BITTEN: A Melanie Travis Mystery

Laurien Berenson, Author . Kensington $22 (281p) ISBN 978-1-57566-677-8

In her eighth doggedly endearing adventure in sleuthing, Melanie Travis is anticipating her brother Frank's impending nuptials to beautiful dog-handler Bertie Kennedy while reflecting over the defection of her fiancé, Sam, who (in last year's Unleashed) suddenly announced he wasn't ready for marriage and went off to find himself. Bertie has hired an old friend, Sara Bentley, to plan her wedding, despite Sara's dubious reputation as a poor little rich girl who flits from one job to another. When Sara disappears soon after taking on the job, Bertie insists that Melanie help find her. As if Melanie doesn't have enough headaches, her ex-husband, Bob Travis, has suddenly reappeared, without his young wife, and is acting like he wants Melanie back. As Melanie delves into Sara's background, she realizes that most of Sara's friends and family aren't that concerned about her. Then a dead body turns up in a fire in the guest cottage where Sara lived on her mother's estate. Is it Sara? If not, then who is it, and where is Sara? The plot takes some surprising twists as Melanie digs deeper into Sara's life, trying to unearth the truth. Balancing an entertaining mystery puzzle with Melanie's attempt to resolve her feelings for her ex-husband and her decamped fiancé, Berenson rounds out the story with the lore of the dog-show world her readers expect. (Sept. 4)

FYI:With this title, the publisher has initiated a brighter, bolder jacket design for the series that can only help sales.

Reviewed on: 07/09/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001
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