By Laurien Berenson
It’s summer vacation for Melanie Travis, and she’s looking forward to a break from her job tutoring special needs children at a prestigious Greenwich, Connecticut private school and spending time with her family. To be accurate, Melanie has two families, human and canine. Her immediate human family consists of husband Sam, a professional dog handler, and two sons, fourteen-year-old Davey and four-year-old Kevin. Her canine family includes five gorgeous Standard Poodles—all show dogs—and Bud, a rescue dog of unknown parentage who enjoys getting into trouble. Plus Melanie’s crusty, irascible but still loveable Aunt Peg, who’s been raising and showing Standard Poodles for years. Much of Melanie’s summer will revolve around dog shows, but she’s also determined to carve out a little time for herself.
An avid reader, Melanie decides to start a book club and call it the Bite Club because…why not? And since she’s known for sticking her nose into situations that inevitably involve a dead body, naturally the books they’ll read will all be mysteries. The first meeting is a small group, and includes Melanie’s best friend Alice and Alice’s new neighbor, Evan Major. The recently divorced and shy Evan shares his home with a Bulldog puppy. Clueless as to how to train his puppy, he turns to Melanie (at Alice’s suggestion), for guidance. Melanie reluctantly agrees.
Evan arrives at the second Bite Club meeting with a badly bruised face, which he claims is the result of a recent car accident. He’s anxious to continue training his puppy, despite his injuries, and Melanie makes a date to meet him at his house the following day. When she arrives, she finds the puppy running loose outside and Evan dead inside. The suspect list is long, and includes members of the Bite Club, Evan’s greedy ex-wife, and his own brother.
“Bite Club” is another satisfying title in Berenson’s Canine Mystery series. Boomer, Lilly and I give it our highest rating—ten dog biscuits!