The dust jacket says it all: a pair of dogs driving off in a car with a Just Married placard. Although the impending nuptials technically involve humans—Connecticut private-school tutor Melanie Travis’s brother Frank and his fiancée Alberta Kennedy—Melanie has much less to say about them than about her fearsome Aunt Peg, Bertie’s wedding planner Sara Bentley, or just about anybody else who has to do with showing dogs. But self-absorbed, irresponsible Sara, doing her best to provide dramatic competition for Melanie’s favorite species, disappears just when the wedding plans should be going into overdrive, and Melanie, enlisted as her aide in order to help her get over the departure of her lover Sam Driver (Unleashed, 2000), soon finds that Sara’s lack of experience as a wedding planner is balanced by lots of other experience she’s had, most of it unpleasant. When Sara’s New Canaan cottage burns down with a body inside, Melanie assumes the dead woman is Sara—until she finds out that Sara’s ordered flowers since her disappearance and phoned Bertie since the fire. What gives? Though Bertie offers to keep Melanie’s unwelcome ex-husband Bob—back in town bereft of his voting-age second wife—off Melanie’s back if she joins the investigation, veterans of Berenson’s first seven adventures won’t expect miracles of detection.
Though Melanie neither identifies the forgettable killer nor even figures out why Aunt Peg is acting so suspiciously nice, her Standard Poodle, Faith, takes Winners Bitch, Best of Breed, and Best of Opposite Sex.