Life's a bitch for Melanie Travis (Hush Puppy, 1999, etc.), schoolteacher and novice trainer of canine champions. Even her Standard Poodle's love life is better than hers. While Faith is happily awaiting her first litter, Melanie's main squeeze, hunky Sam Driver, is mooning over his ex-wife Sheila, who came east with her prize-winning Pugs for six months and stayed on to try to rock Sam's world—not to mention the high-class world of show dogs and their equally inbred owners. As co-publishers of Woof!, Sheila and her pre-Sam boyfriend Brian Endicott want to make a splash exposing shady breeders and sketchy owners. But just as their first issue's coming out, someone halts their press run by wrapping a leash around Sheila's pretty neck and leaving her dead on the floor of her rented North Salem cottage. Knowing that Sam won't be hers again until Sheila's murderer is caught, Melanie begins to sniff out the killer. At Woof!'s editorial office, managing editor Aubrey Jones gives her the cold shoulder, but her assistant, Tim Golonka, tells Melanie whose fur Sheila was about to ruffle: hot-tempered trainer Kenny Boyle and blue-blooded breeder Alida Trent. And sleazy staff photographer Marlon Dickie suggests that as surviving partner, Brian has as good a motive as any outsider. Melanie even gets a tip from Sheila's neighbor Nancy Benning, whose twins overheard a "mean man" yelling at Sheila. The most dramatic remaining question: Will Faith whelp her litter before Melanie brings her seventh case to an equally predictable outcome?