Melanie Travis has her hands full with her two young sons, a part-time job, and a half dozen poodles to her name. But even with the busy holiday season approaching, she still has time to sniff out a Christmastime killer.... There's nothing lovelier than Christmas in Connecticut, but Melanie can scarcely find a moment to enjoy the festivities.
Melanie Travis loves her teaching job at Connecticut's elite Howard Academy, where plans are underway for a Spring Pageant to honor the school's fiftieth anniversary. Immersed in the preparations, Melanie is hurrying to retrieve a painting of one of the illustrious co-founders when she comes upon a disturbing scene: Eugene Krebbs, the Academy's elderly caretaker is arguing loudly with a girl half his size. Before Melanie can learn more than the girl's first name - Jane - she disappears.
"Best of the Series"
Melanie Travis has just started a new job, and with the added excitement of showing her Standard Poodle, Faith, in the fall shows, the last thing she wants is to become embroiled in yet another of her brother Frank's moneymaking schemes. His current brainstorm - remaking an old store in stylish suburban Fairfield County into a trendy coffee bar - already has the neighbors snarling. Worse, wealthy Marcus Rattigan, who's bankrolling the project, is found murdered on the premises, and the police think Frank did it.
Melanie Travis has her hands full these days, what with adding a husband and three more dogs to her already cramped home. The advanced obedience training for her dog Faith is a welcome respite from the stresses of house hunting - until murder forces Melanie to the head of the class... Even amidst the chaos, Melanie somehow manages to eke out a bit of time to get Faith enrolled in "school".
The apparent heart attack that killed kennel owner Max Turnbull has left seven pups in mourning, and his wife Peg suspecting foul play. But the only evidence is their missing prize pooch - a pedigreed poodle named Beau.
"Gone to the dogs"
There are dog shows. And then there's The Poodle Club of America National Specialty Dog Show. For poodle purists, it's the pinnacle of the season. While the poodles remain well behaved, it's their owners and handlers who start acting up. And when one is found dead at the host hotel, murder takes center stage.
Despite a toddler and a house full of Standard Poodles, Melanie Travis can't pass up an opportunity to help legendary dog breeder Edward March pen his life story. But her enthusiasm flags when the breeder's angry son Andrew demands she stop working on the book. Why becomes imperative once Andrew is killed by a seemingly intentional hit-and-run and Melanie becomes Suspect number one.
This year, all Melanie wants for Christmas is a dull moment. Between her son Davey, her teaching job, and showing her Standard Poodle puppy, Eve, there just aren't enough hours in the day. But when Davey's usual bus driver, Henry Pruitt, disappears and is replaced by a surly, pierced, twentysomething, Melanie is concerned. The elderly, amiable Henry was a friend to all in the neighborhood, so she decides to check on him.... only to find that he died two days earlier, under suspicious circumstances.
In an effort to escape tail-chasing males - namely her ex-husband Bob and boyfriend Sam - Melanie Travis opts to track down the elusive owner of Dox, an adorable Dachshund who's about to be put on the block at a charity auction. But the more Melanie discovers about the pup's background, the messier the case gets. It seems Dox is part of a divorced couple's emotional tug-o-war… As if tiptoeing through the minefield of a broken marriage isn't nerve-wracking enough, there's also Melanie's stalker.
She hardly has time to pay much attention to her Aunt Peg's new protg, Nick Walden, a self-proclaimed "dog whisperer" with an uncanny gift for decoding dog-speak. The well-heeled dog owners of Fairfield County are lapping up his alleged talents, anxious to discover exactly what their pampered pets are thinking--that is until the pooches start spilling their secrets.When Nick is discovered dead in his home, his sister Claire enlists Melanie to help track down the killer.
"great series, need a different narrator"
Summer means two things to Melanie Travis: a break from her teaching duties at Connecticut's elite Howard Academy and a chance to plan the perfect wedding to her fiancé, Sam. She certainly doesn't need the unwelcome arrival of a dinner invitation "peace offering" from Sam's ex-wife, Sheila Vaughn. And dinner proves to be only the beginning of her problems. Sheila's new man turns out to be Brian Endicott, an old buddy-turned-enemy of Sam's.
With her former fiancé off finding himself, Melanie Travis figures the only ring she'll be seeing in the near future is one where she's showing her prized poodles. But love is still in the air for her brother Frank, who is about to tie the knot with his sweetheart, Bertie Kennedy. With scant knowledge of tulle, favors, or cocktail hors d'oeuvres, Melanie happily leaves the nuptial arrangements to Sara Bentley, a fellow dog handler moonlighting as a wedding coordinator.
As if raising her son, training her rambunctious poodle for the show ring, and grooming fellow handler, Sam Driver, for romance aren't enough, Melanie Travis's entree into the exclusive Belle Haven Kennel Club has been met with a grisly murder. As Melanie investigates, the truth about forged pedigrees and illegal show practices come to light. And soon, Melanie finds herself moving closer to a dogged killer who's desperate enough to strike again.
"Another fun dog-related mystery"
Welcome to an elite Connecticut kennel club where shocking secrets gnaw at the best of the breed and competition has a sharp - and deadly - bite. As if raising her son Davey, training her rambunctious Poodle Faith for the show ring, and grooming fellow handler Sam Driver for romance aren't enough, Melanie Travis's entre into the exclusive Belle Haven Kennel Club has been met with a grisly murder. Unfortunately, the only witnesses to the crime were the victim's startled pair of Beagles.
"Story good - narrator awful"
As the dog days of summer turn to the playful nip of autumn's chill, Melanie Travis is ready for a little relaxation. Her Aunt Peg has the perfect solution - a five-day symposium for dog show judges in Pennsylvania's idyllic Pocono Mountains. While Peg and Melanie's sister-in-law Bertie welcome the opportunity to socialize with the dog world's elite, the very pregnant Melanie embraces the chance to simply unwind.
As Melanie learns, it's a dog's life at the Pine Ridge Canine Care Center - and life is good. Everyone seems blissfully happy. Everyone canine, that is, as Melanie soon discovers there are some simmering resentments among the Pine Ridge staff. And when Steve Pine, the center's charming, good-looking co-owner, is found shot to death on the floor of his office, there's no shortage of suspects.
"One of the Best in the Series"
Melanie knew someone should have kept Barry Turk on a short leash. The star Poodle handler and lady killer had a habit of chicanery that bred contempt in the dog show circuit. But when Barry is shot dead in his own driveway, even Melanie is stunned at how unsporting the competition can get. Now, as Melanie digs for clues deep under Connecticut's well-groomed surface, she finds herself sniffing around in the killer's own backyard, and counts herself lucky to have the animal instincts to keep herself alive. .
"Entertaining, but had to check my play speed"
If Melanie Travis was planning on a quiet family summer with her Standard Poodle Faith, son Davey, and new husband Sam, her plans are about to turn upside down. An unexpected competition, a trip to New York, and - oh yes, a murder - later, Melanie finds herself in a choke collar of deceit and corruption. When she receives the letter from the Champions Dog Food Company informing her that Faith has been selected as a finalist in the "All Dogs Are Champions" contest, Melanie is mystified.