Murder disrupts yet another dog show.
Melanie Travis would love for her son, Davey, to finish his standard poodle’s championship. Kirkwood’s Keep Away, known to his family as Augie, has 11 points and needs four more, including one major, to retire from the ring a champion, and the Sedgefield Dog Show seems just the ticket. It’s near enough to the Travises’ West Stamford home for them to make the round-trip journey in a single day and small enough for them to know most of the competition. Melanie’s Aunt Peg throws the first wrench into the works by deciding to show her poodle puppy Coral at the same show. But the biggest curve of the day comes from an exhibitor. Jasmine Crane, whose pet portraits delight the Connecticut doggie set, is found in her booth with a leash wrapped around her neck. Melanie, who’s almost as famous for finding dead bodies as for raising live poodles (Wagging Through the Snow, 2017, etc.), wants nothing to do with Jasmine’s death. But fellow handler Abby Burke turns up at Aunt Peg’s house in distress because her twin sister, Amanda, Peg’s petsitter, has gone missing. Now the independent Peg actually turns to her niece for help. Why meddle in a murder? Because Amanda rented a room in the late Jasmine Crane’s house. Peg thinks the petsitter’s disappearance must be connected to the pet painter’s death. But figuring out the connection takes a murder maven, and that means Melanie.
For pet fans who thrive on dog-show lore, Berenson’s brand is always best in show.