For her first vacation in seven years without her son, Melanie Travis hadn't planned on working at a Poodle Club of America dog show. But after being bullied into it by her aunt Peg, Melanie even gets excited at the chance to show her own poodle, Eve. There's lots of competition, especially from dogs belonging to Melanie's coworkers Betty Jean and Edith Jean Boone. But someone tries to impair their chances by killing one of them. Having investigated murders in the past, Melanie sets to work—and finds plenty of suspects among the competitors, who are willing to do whatever it takes to win.

Though a good book overall, BEST IN SHOW doesn't give readers who aren't already acquainted with Melanie a good first impression. Initially, she seems weak, letting her aunt just tell her what to do. But eventually readers new and old will be drawn into her crazy world. Her boyfriend, Sam, is appealing, and the dog show information was interesting without slowing down the story. (Sep., 288 pp., $22.00)

Reviewed by: 
Robyn Glazer