Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am very excited to welcome Laurien Berenson to Escape With Dollycas!
Welcome to My World!
by Laurien Berenson
I was talking to a friend the other day about books. He told me, almost apologetically, that he doesn’t read books. He said that it never occurs to him to pick one up.
I understand that we live in a fast-paced world. I know that everyone has smart phones, streaming video, and access to a 24/7 news cycle. But I still can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for someone who has never discovered the wonder of reading.
For me, reading has always been the most glorious escape. In good times, I read for pleasure. In not-so-good times I read for solace. Reading transports me to places I’ve never been—and sometimes to places I never want to go. A story can lift my mood, make me think, or scare me half to death. Great storytellers let me see the world through their eyes, and they open my mind to possibilities I might never have previously envisioned.
Aside from reading, the other constant in my life has always been the presence of animals. Now I’m fortunate to be able to combine my two passions as the author of the Melanie Travis Canine Mystery series. Let me say right up front that I am not just a writer of cozy mysteries, I am also a huge fan. This is a genre that has something for everyone: humor, quirky characters, great writing, and interesting settings.
My series grew out of my personal experience breeding and showing Standard and Miniature Poodles. I am the third generation in my family to show dogs and my grandmother was also a dog show judge. I spent more than twenty years in the dog show world and it didn’t take me long to discover what a fertile setting it would make for a mystery series!
Now that the 19th book in the series, LIVE AND LET GROWL, is about to be released, I’ve moved to greener pastures and Melanie Travis does too (at least for one adventure). I have transitioned from breeding Poodles to breeding Thoroughbred race horses. This book takes my two main characters, Melanie and her Aunt Peg, to the Bluegrass state of Kentucky where they become involved in shenanigans taking place in the world of horse racing.
Take it from me, dogs and horses are a great combination!
In LIVE AND LET GROWL I had the opportunity to explore a setting that most people only think about once a year on the 1st Saturday in May: Kentucky Derby day. But the Thoroughbred industry—both the horses themselves and those who care for them–are so much more than just that one premier event.
It’s my pleasure to give readers a behind-the-scenes look at a milieu that’s exciting and different. I hope you enjoy stepping into my world as much as I enjoyed writing about it.
Live and Let Growl
(A Melanie Travis Mystery)
19th in Series
Setting – Kentucky
Kensington (July 26, 2016)
Hardcover: 304 pages
E-Book ASIN: B017G7HE8U
When her Aunt Peg lands a gig as judge at a Kentucky dog show, Melanie Travis welcomes the opportunity for a road trip. Too bad a killer has planned a deadly detour . . .
For a dog lover like Melanie, the opportunity to attend the Kentuckiana Dog Show Cluster is not to be missed. Fortunately, the timing coincides with her spring break from teaching, so she heads for central Kentucky with her sister-in-law Bertie and Aunt Peg, who’s accepted a week-long judging assignment. Once there, Aunt Peg reconnects with an old friend, Ellie Gates Wanamaker, a former Standard Poodle exhibitor and a member of a well-heeled Kentucky family. Miss Ellie has been out of the dog show world for more than a decade, but when Melanie invites her to spectate at the Louisville Kennel Club dog show, she’s eager to accompany her.
Miss Ellie’s presence at the expo center, however, provokes mixed reactions from exhibitors she hasn’t seen in years, including some outright animosity. The following day Melanie learns that Miss Ellie has suffered a fatal accident while exercising her dogs. Aunt Peg, however, suspects foul play. Wishing to avoid any scandal, Miss Ellie’s pedigreed family prefers to let sleeping dogs lie, but as Melanie begins to sniff around, she discovers Miss Ellie had many secrets, both in the dog show world and amongst her Kentucky kin . . .
Racehorses and dogs come together as Melanie, Bertie and Peg head to the Kentuckiana Dog Show Cluster and to check out Peg’s new inheritance. They aren’t just horsing around either when one of Peg’s old friends, Ellie Gates Wanamaker, is found dead. Accident or murder, Peg is like a dog with a bone to get answers.
I am so late to the Melanie Travis Mystery Party and I still don’t understand how I have missed this series. But let me tell you, Laurien Berenson made me feel right at home. I jumped right into this story and enjoyed it immensely. She gave enough of a backstory that I never felt lost or that I was missing some important details. That is hard to do with a long standing series as this. I love these characters and want to go back up and read much more about them and find out how this wonderful group came together.
The only hesitation I had was understanding the horse breeding, selling, training processes but that is a very complicated thing unless you live in that world. It was totally on me not on the author’s storytelling.
I so enjoyed learning about the wonderful poodles and the Jack Russell Terriers. As a parent to two Border Collie/Blue Heeler mixes, I understand clearly how each breed has their own tendencies, traits and idiosyncrasies. No matter what they are we love them and the author’s love was shining from the beginning of this story until the end.
Laurien Berenson writes a heck of a mystery too. Right up until the end we were guessing about what happened and why and who was responsible. It went right down to the wire just like a great horse race.
I am excited to read more of these stories, catching up and going forward.
Thank you Ms. Berenson for a delightful story to curl up with.
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.
Thanks to the author I have 1 copy to give away!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”