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Caturday Reads: From Poodles to Thoroughbreds Live and Let Growl is a Winner

Live and Let Growl

by Laurien Berenson

Kensington Books

Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date 26 Jul 2016


Laurien Berenson's mysteries are a feast for animal lovers, for a variety of reasons. First, she accurately depicts the varying personalities of dogs and how they react in different circumstances. As I read, Faith's actions and manner of expression reminded me a lot of my own trio of canine companions and the way they offer their opinions. (Faith is Melanie's standard poodle). Second, her plots revolve around the animal world, whether it be the dog show circuit in which Melanie and her family are deeply immersed or in the case of Live and Let Growl, the world of thoroughbred sales and breeding. Third, her stories are wonderfully detailed and despite the number of books in the series she doesn't cut corners on characterization, making reading enjoyable for both long time fans and newcomers.

In Live and Let Growl, Aunt Peg, poodle breeder extraordinaire has inherited a broodmare. An upcoming dog show in Kentucky where she is scheduled to judge provides the opportunity to view the horse and examine her options. Naturally Melanie and Faith accompany her. As luck would have it, an old friend who used to show poodles still lives in the area and knows a lot about thoroughbreds. Miss Ellie is quite a personality and Aunt Peg convinces her to visit the dog show. While many are happy to see Miss Ellie, some are not and only a short while later she is found dead, the victim of an unfortunate accident. Naturally Aunt Peg and Melanie are suspicious.

Live and Let Growl is a good novel. Its only weakness is that there is really no mystery behind who is responsible for Miss Ellie's death. Still that doesn't detract from the enjoyment of following the whirlwind that is Aunt Peg along with Melanie and Faith.


I received a copy of Live and Let Growl from the publisher and



"If you like dogs, you'll love Laurien Berenson's Melanie Travis mysteries!" --Joanne Fluke, New York Times bestselling author

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 . . .

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