Kensington, Sep 2004, 22.00, 304 pp.
In Greenwich, Connecticut, Melanie Travis is a special needs tutor at the posh private Howard Academy. She enjoys her work there, but her passion is showing and breeding French Poodles. Her son Davy enthusiastically helps her with the canines when he can. When she takes her son to the school bus, Melanie is surprised that Henry the long time driver has been replaced by Annie. She visits Henry to see if he is okay only to learn that he recently died from a heart attack.
Melanie sees Golden Retrievers inside of Henry's home so feeling compassion and not wanting the dogs to mourn alone, she takes them to her Aunt Peg, a professional breeder and canine lover. The two female relatives learn through the grapevine that Henry was poisoned. His two daughters arrive planning to sell their father's animal companions on E-bay. They also refuse to leave town until their father's killer is caught. Peg wants these coldhearted adult children be gone so she investigates the homicide to expedite their departure, not realizing the danger her decision poses to her and her niece.
JINGLE BELL BARK is a delightful tale that amateur sleuth fans will enjoy especially the canine caper crowd. Laurien Berenson enables readers to glimpse inside the world of dogs through the loving way aunt and niece nurture their beloved barking family members. The audience like Peg will find it impossible to determine who the killer is because suspects abound with motives and opportunities. This leads to a surprising climax as Peg and Melanie try to take a bite out of crime before they are nipped permanently.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner