Wagging through the Snow (A Melanie Travis Mystery)
21st in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington (September 26, 2017)
Hardcover: 224 pages
Kindle ASIN: B01N9NEDRF
Melanie Travis needs a little peace from her busy life this Christmas. But the usual holiday hubbub is a joy compared to the killer surprise she finds tucked underneath the tree . . .
With a demanding teaching job at Connecticut’s elite Howard Academy and five poodles scampering around the house, Melanie barely has energy for the upcoming Christmas rush. But she unwraps an unexpected challenge when her brother and ex-husband, elated by the recent success of their country café, make a spontaneous bid on a dilapidated pine tree farm. Although the ten-acre lot had been a popular seasonal destination while the original owner was still alive, it’ll take some sprucing up—and a small miracle or two—before the neglected place is in shape for December.
Unfortunately, the impromptu business venture goes cold when the group discovers a purebred Maltese whimpering in the snow-covered grove—right beside a dead body. Pete, a squatter who camped out on the land, apparently met his end after a fallen fir tree branch knocked him on the head. But as Melanie and Aunt Peg investigate Pete’s history and the terrible habit that cost him everything, it’s clear his death was no accident. Now, Melanie must run through a flurry of likely suspects and muzzle a dogged murderer in time—or she’ll be next on someone’s deadly list.
Look at the cute little face on the cover. I want one! but am restraining myself because my two canine companions would not like another dog in our house. At 14 years old, they are pretty set in their ways.
Melanie Travis is counting down the days until the holiday break at Howard Academy while taking care of the usual Christmas things at home. When her brother announces he has brought a Christmas tree farm without consulting his partner, Melanie’s ex husband, she is very surprised. Even more surprising in that her brother wants her to inform her ex about this “great deal”. The extended family all gathers to check out the place and discovers it needs a bit of work to open in time for the Christmas shoppers but together they think they can handle it. That is until they find a dead man in the woods. They also find a cute little dog by his side. The police rule it an accidental death but Melanie and Aunt Peg aren’t sure that is the case. They start their own investigation and find their aren’t too many people sad that the man is dead. Their suspect list seems to grow as each day passes until the killer turns their sights on Melanie, she stuck her nose into something that was not her business and she may be the next cold body her family finds.
This is a doggone great story especially if you love dogs like I do. Melanie and her husband, Sam have enough dogs in their house to form a doggie basketball team. They also have two sons, Davey and Kevin, so to say life at their house is busy is a huge understatement, but she still finds time to help her brother and tag along with her Aunt Peg at a moment’s notice. She is also close to her ex, Davey’s dad, and his new wife. I am always amazed at their organizational skills and patience as they juggle all these balls in the air. The character development is outstanding. The characters are real and so engaging. A strong blended family portrayal like this is heartwarming.
The mystery this time deals with a homeless man and his alcoholism that has driven almost all of his friends and family away. The plot leads us back in time to see how his life progressed until he was found dead. Melanie’s compassion shines as she tries to find answers and justice for a man she never met. While the story handles serious issues it is also full of laugh out loud moments. Ms. Bererson manages to merge everything together masterfully.
This series has been going strong for several years but don’t let that stop you from jumping in with this holiday story. Each mystery is contained to its book and the author gives you enough character information to never feel lost. I can’t promise that you won’t want to read previous installments though after reading this one. In fact I would be surprised if you didn’t. It is a terrific series.
Wagging Through the Snow is a perfect escape and the perfect holiday gift for any dog lover on your list. Don’t wait for the snow to fly before you get your copy!
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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