A Pedigree To Die For (A Melanie Travis Mystery)
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Win, Place. . .Or Die.
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.
Enter Melanie Travis. With her young son happily ensconced in day damp, the thirty-something teacher and single mother is talked into investigating her uncle's death--unofficially, of course. Posing as a poodle breeder in search of the perfect stud, Melanie hounds Connecticut's elite canine competitions, and finds an ally in fellow breeder Sam Driver. But her affection cools when she's put on the scent of Sam's questionable past. . .and hot on the trail of a poodle-hating neighbor and one elusive murderer who isn't ready to come to heel.
For, as Melanie soon discovers, in a championship dog-eat-dog world, the instinct for survival, and winning, can prove fatal.
face, with its direct gray eyes, slim nose, and stern jaw, was bare of makeup, as it had been for years. Her only jewelry was an inexpensive watch on a plain black strap. “You . . .” I began, then stopped, uncertain whether the wisest course was to comment on the change or simply ignore it. “Have hair, yes.” Aunt Rose turned toward Davey, who was looking at her shyly, and her features softened into a smile. “I see you’re still the explorer of the family. Think you’re brave enough to come over
get loose?” “I haven’t a clue. Probably somebody got careless, that’s all. Poodles are trained to stay on their grooming tables, you know. They’re never tied like the other breeds. Maybe she simply fell off her table and decided to have a romp.” Carelessness. That’s what Langley had said, too. “So I guess I’m back to square one.” “There’s another show next weekend.” I never doubted it for a moment. “You know what they say. Perseverance is its own reward.” “That’s virtue, Aunt Peg.”
somewhat solvent state. On Thursday morning I dropped Davey at camp and swung by Aunt Peg’s. I found her clipping the faces and feet of a litter of puppies in her guest room. “I was thinking I might go pay the Wassermans a visit,” I said. “Tony and Doris? Why?” “The other day when Tony was here you said that their house was to the north, which should place it out somewhere behind the kennel. I know it’s a long shot, but maybe one of them saw or heard something the night Beau disappeared.”
Or maybe the only difference would have been that I was the one to get to New Jersey too late. I have to tell you, Melanie, I don’t like the direction things are heading.” Well, that was a news flash. “Beau may be a valuable dog, but nobody in his right mind could think he’s worth the price of two lives.” “My thoughts exactly. So either something else is going on around here . . .” “Or we’re dealing with someone who’s crazy.” “Or desperate.” Just another cheery thought with which to begin
the room was so high even I was beginning to feel jumpy. “Look at them,” said Tony. “All that hair going every which way. They’re a joke. And how many does she have over there anyway? Twelve? Fourteen? Who needs that many dogs?” “Aunt Peg breeds her Poodles,” I reminded him. “And she exhibits them at shows.” “Well, la-di-dah.” That editorial comment came from Doris. I swiveled around to face her. Earlier in the year I might have felt the same way. But now I’d been to enough shows to see that