Dog Eat Dog (©1996)
Melanie Travis Series #3
by Laurien Berenson
In her third adventure (after Underdog) in the rarefied world of dog fanciers in Southern Connecticut, Melanie Travis copes with the unexpected reappearance of her ex-husband, Bob. After almost five years of deadbeat dadhood, Bob has decided to become a responsible parent, and if that's not enough, Melanie's unrelenting aunt Peg is nipping at her heels to join the Belle Haven Kennel Club. Still learning how to groom and show her new dog, a standard poodle named Faith, Melanie finds discovers that kennel club members anything but a well-bred lot. Plying her with pictures of their dogs, they quiz her on her own and align themselves into various camps. When the president announces that some cash and checks are missing, the meeting quickly degenerates
into accusation and innuendo. A week later club member Monica Freedman is found murdered in a parking lot. Beginning to dig, Melanie soon unearths a few skeletons, which turn out to be the same ones Monica had uncovered and used to taunt her colleagues, including Aunt Peg. It seems the cream of Connecticut society has dabbled in fraud, animal abuse, alcoholism and deception in the ring. All of this is a romp among puppies compared to Melanie's problems with Bob, who wants to take their son, Davey, back to Texas, to live with him and his 20-year-old fiance. Melanie's easygoing common sense helps her solve both problems in a story as calm and as controlled as a well-behaved dog on a lead.