It’s mutts vs. purebreds as Melanie Travis (Live and Let Growl, 2016, etc.) investigates the death of a dog-loving philanthropist.
Poor Melanie just can’t win. When she adopts a terrier mix left by the side of the highway by his abusive owner, her Aunt Peg is scandalized. A renowned dog show judge, Margaret Turnbull can’t see why her niece would want to mingle a mongrel with intelligent dogs like Melanie’s five award-winning standard poodles. But it’s those same five champions that make Leo Brody’s daughter Jane look down her nose at Melanie during Puppy Fest, an annual bash Leo throws in his posh Greenwich, Connecticut, home for the benefit of the Puppy Posse Foundation, his pet charity. Jane thinks purebred dogs are the reason so many of the Posse’s rescue pets need rescuing. While Jane sends Melanie on vital Puppy Fest errands—like getting bottled water for the puppies, who couldn’t possibly drink tap water—Brody is lying lifeless on the floor on his study, done in by a plate of peanut-laden cookies. Since everyone in the household knew about his peanut allergy, there are suspects aplenty, but the police somehow conclude that his death was accidental. Jane’s half sister, Libby, disagrees, and she drafts Melanie to find out who killed her father. The more she gets to know the dysfunctional Brodys, the more the veteran amateur sleuth likes her dogs. Still, like a hound chasing rabbits, Melanie can’t call off the hunt until she finds out who popped the peanuts in Mr. Brody’s pastries.
Whatever you think of the mystery, the heroine’s interviews of the nine Brody kids, each crazier than the next, are worth the price of admission.