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Once Bitten [Hardcover]

Laurien Berenson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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From Publishers Weekly

In her eighth doggedly endearing adventure in sleuthing, Melanie Travis is anticipating her brother Frank's impending nuptials to beautiful dog-handler Bertie Kennedy while reflecting over the defection of her fianc‚, Sam, who (in last year's Unleashed) suddenly announced he wasn't ready for marriage and went off to find himself. Bertie has hired an old friend, Sara Bentley, to plan her wedding, despite Sara's dubious reputation as a poor little rich girl who flits from one job to another. When Sara disappears soon after taking on the job, Bertie insists that Melanie help find her. As if Melanie doesn't have enough headaches, her ex-husband, Bob Travis, has suddenly reappeared, without his young wife, and is acting like he wants Melanie back. As Melanie delves into Sara's background, she realizes that most of Sara's friends and family aren't that concerned about her. Then a dead body turns up in a fire in the guest cottage where Sara lived on her mother's estate. Is it Sara? If not, then who is it, and where is Sara? The plot takes some surprising twists as Melanie digs deeper into Sara's life, trying to unearth the truth. Balancing an entertaining mystery puzzle with Melanie's attempt to resolve her feelings for her ex-husband and her decamped fianc‚, Berenson rounds out the story with the lore of the dog-show world her readers expect. (Sept. 4)bolder jacket design for the series that can only help sales.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Series sleuth Melanie Travis (Unleashed), a teacher and dog handler, goes in search of the sometime wedding consultant she recommended to her brother and his fianc?e. The consultant apparently vanishes in the midst of preparations, but when her cottage burns down, a woman's body is found. For all collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining all the way through Sept. 5 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
All the characters are fun, all the plot entertaining, the dialogue sure to draw at least a smile. A lovely mystery intertwined with the story of its characters all diverse and then the icing on the cake is all the learning about dog shows and the life around these.
Just sit back, relax, you are about to read yourself through a real entertaining and at the same time gripping story!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Is Melanie going to the dogs? Nov. 16 2001
If you read the previous Melanie Travis mystery, Unleashed, and you are like me, you were likely disappointed to see Melanie's fiance Sam take off for an undetermined time following his ex-wife's murder for reflection and what-not. Berenson, however, appeases us in Once Bitten by fulfilling the promise of a wedding -- that of Melanie's brother Frank.
While she is happy to see her brother maturing into a responsible businessman and committing himself to dog trainer/knockout Bertie Kennedy, Melanie is still nursing the wounds of her breakup. When Bertie's flighty wedding planner, part-time trainer Sara, mysteriously disappears, Melanie finds there is no time left to cry over spilt engagements when Bertie pleads with her to find Sara...and help plan a wedding while she's doing that.
Berenson injects quite a dose of romance in this installment when in the midst of all this chaos, ex-husband Bob returns to town, clearly bitten by the reconciliation bug. I have to admit, Melanie's divided loyalties between maintaining a stable home life for son Davey (who is ecstatic to have his father so close) and yearning for her missing true love made for better suspense than the actual mystery, the disappearance and even more bizarre reappearance of Sara, a character I came to like less and less as the story progressed.
I have enjoyed the Melanie Travis series since its inception, but with Once Bitten I fear Berenson may be hitting her stride. However, the weaknesses detected in the actual mystery (the aforementioned Sara and her conflicts with her even less likable parents...Melanie herself admits she can't stand them) are bolstered by the compelling subplot. I certainly hope for the next book the mystery will be a bit meatier (no pun intended).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not her best Oct. 29 2001
ONCE BITTEN brings back most of the familiar characters from previous Berenson tales (with a puzzling omission -- what happened to Aunt Peg's Douglas? He's missing in action here), and moves their relationships along nicely. However, there's so much going on -- the impending marriage of main character Melanie's brother and ravishing trainer Bertie (short for Alberta), the reappearance of Melanie's ex-husband, the move into judging for Aunt Peg, "finishing" Melanie's poodle's championship -- that the mystery seems more of an afterthought than the main event. Also, there's not much mystery -- the pointers to the guilty parties are pretty pointed. As always, the dog show segments are the most realistic, but the Christmas Eve chapter at the end is well worth the price of admission.
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