A birthday party for a famous Pug ends in a suspicious death.
The latest job for the catering business run by sisters Libby and Bernie is a birthday bash for Trudy, a Pug who was the inspiration for a line of stuffed animals that has made Annabel and Richard Colbert wealthy. The invited guests are at each other’s throats, the wealthy couple far from connubial bliss. When Annabel seems to have been poisoned by something in her special wine, she begs the sisters to find her killer. The police call her death an accident, but with the help of their father, a wheelchair-bound former cop, the girls get to work looking for leads, of which there are many. The husband was sleeping with his secretary, the dog trainer was about to get fired and the whole bunch share a history that goes back to high school. As the sisters dig deeper into relationships past and present, it looks as if everyone had a motive to kill Annabel, and no one cares for their nosy questions. Poor Trudy is obviously unloved, and aiding in a Pugnapping drags their dad deeper into the investigation. It won’t be easy to winkle out the person with the best motive and opportunity, but the sleuthing trio are up to the task.
The most appealing character in Crawford’s latest culinary mystery (A Catered Halloween, 2008, etc.) is Trudy the Pug. Even the recipes for dogs are the best of the bunch.