JINGLE BELL BARK
Melanie Travis is a terrific character: a small-town single mom who teaches school and cares for son Davey and her pedigree poodles while juggling an on-again, off-again engagement. Melanie's got the perfect job for a dog lover: She tutors at a private school where no one minds if she brings in her dogs every day.
Because she's such a dog lover, Melanie finds shelter for Davey's bus driver's dogs after the driver dies mysteriously. For her trouble, she catches hell from a disreputable puppy mill owner and the bus driver's two ungrateful daughters. Then Melanie's Aunt Peg decides to look into the bus driver's murder. When the killer realizes Melanie and Peg are getting too close to the truth, their safety is threatened.
Although the story may be perfect for dog lovers, the pacing is slow, due to an overabundance of information on the dog show world, the finer points of dog breeding and the various methods of dog etiquette and care. (Sep., 304 pp., $22.00)