HERE COMES SANTA PAWS
By Laurien Berenson
Christmas is coming for Melanie Travis and her family: husband Sam, a professional dog handler, and two sons, fourteen-year-old Davey and four-year-old Kevin. Melanie also has a canine family of five gorgeous Standard Poodles, and Bud, a rescue dog who enjoys getting into trouble every chance he gets. Plus, Melanie has to deal with her crusty, irascible but still loveable Aunt Peg, who’s been raising and showing Standard Poodles for years. Melanie is also a special needs tutor at a local private school. And then, there are all the dead bodies that she just can’t help finding. With all this on her plate, the holidays are usually overwhelming for her. But this year, Melanie’s determined to be organized and not let the stress of everything get to her. Just this once.
Meanwhile, her event planner friend Claire, who’s married to Melanie’s ex-husband (yes, it’s confusing) is busy planning holiday parties and doing holiday gift shopping for her many wealthy Connecticut Gold Coast clients. Claire’s personal shopping service is going very well until she arrives at a client’s house on an ultra-private New Canaan estate to deliver some purchases and finds her client murdered. Hysterical, she calls 911, then Melanie, and just like that, Melanie’s resolve to have a calm holiday goes right out the window. Claire insists that Melanie be present the first time she’s interviewed by the local police, to lend moral support. The interview does not go well. As suspicions about Claire continue to rachet up, she doesn’t help her cause any when she sneaks back into the client’s house to get a cherished piece of jewelry she lost the morning of the murder. Then, she disappears.
“Here Comes Santa Paws” is another satisfying title in Laurien Berenson’s Canine Mystery series. Boomer, Lilly and I give it our highest rating—ten dog biscuits!