Game of Dog Bones by Laurien Berenson

Monday, July 27, 2020 MysteryFiction  No comments


Standard Poodle owner Melanie Travis is an excellent judge of dogs—and people. But what happens when an unnamed killer emerges at one of the fiercest all-breed competitions ever?

As Greenwich, Connecticut, slows down during a bitterly cold February, Melanie and her spunky Aunt Peg head to the city that never sleeps for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden. Aunt Peg can’t wait to demonstrate her judging chops on national TV, even after being hounded by frustrating mishaps—all seemingly orchestrated by Victor Durbin, an ousted Paugussett Poodle Club member with a bone to pick. But the bright lights of the show ring grow dim when Victor is found murdered, and she’s the one topping the suspect list . . .

Driven to solve the crime on her aunt’s behalf, Melanie fetches hair-raising clues about the victim. Victor didn’t score many friends with his unethical breeding practices, sketchy puppy café, and penchant for mercilessly scamming others to get ahead. He burned so many bridges that his own business partner admits to being delighted by news of his death. It appears Victor finally toyed with the wrong person, and as Melanie digs up more chilling evidence, she realizes that exonerating Aunt Peg means confronting a murderer who’s in it to win it . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Aunt Peg gets to fulfill her dream when she is asked to judge for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden and be on television. She is even hosting a seminar before her judging. But a former member of her poodle club, Victor Durbin is doing his best to ruin her day by planning his own event at the same time as Peg’s. When the man is later found dead Peg finds herself on the shortlist of suspects. New York is taking its own sweet time with their investigation so Melanie dives into her investigation to clear her Aunt Peg’s name while putting herself in jeopardy.


Visiting the Travis family is always a good time. With a husband, 2 sons, 5 Standard Poodles, 1 spotted mutt, and Aunt Peg, there is never a dull moment. Going with them to the biggest dog show was a real treat. We get a behind the scenes look and see Aunt Peg’s judging techniques in full force. All the human and canine characters really shine within this story. This is the 25th book in this series and the characters all continue to evolve and remain fresh. The dialogues and all interactions are believable and ring true.

In addition to some awesome subplots, the mystery was very well written. The victim truly had his share of enemies and I really enjoyed tailing along with Melanie as she worked her way through all of them. The author’s descriptive writing style takes her readers right into the moments of her characters in a way that keeps the pages rapidly turning. A major event takes place and that was truly my favorite part of the story.

Game of Dog Bones is an excellent addition to this long-running series. Each story reads well as a stand-alone too. It is fun and entertaining and leaves readers panting for the next book.

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About This Author

Laurien Berenson is an Agatha and Macavity Nominee, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and four-time winner of the Maxwell Award, presented by the Dog Writers Association of America. She and her husband live on a farm in Kentucky surrounded by dogs and horses.

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