5.0 out of 5 stars
I warmed up to this book, Dec 1 2000
I checked this book out of the local branch library. When I first started reading it, I was lukewarm about it and thinking I would return it (I don't feel I have to finish something I am reading for fun if it isn't fun!). One night, I decided to give it a second chance. I ended up really enjoying it once I got past the first chapter. Now I am hunting down the rest of the series.
Melanie's husband left her when her son was 10 months old. She's been supporting herself and her son ever since. She's wary of men (her most recent lover just took off to Las Vegas and married a show girl), short on money, trying to be a good mom to her son, and doesn't get along with her relatives. In this book, her Uncle Max dies and his favorite stud dog is stolen. Melanie's forceful Aunt Peg convinces her to help her find the missing stud dog (actually, she wanted Melanie's feckless brother to do it but he declines). Along the way, Melanie learns about showing dogs, how her parents really died, and draws slightly closer to her remaining relatives. And her Aunt Peg fixes her up with a "stud"--a Mel Gibson look-alike.
I read some of the reviews of her other books and one reviewer complained because Melanie's son is dragged into the story and he whines alot. Don't listen to that reviewer unless you hate kids. Yes, Melanie's son is in all of the books in the series. She's a single mother! Of course he's going to be mentioned a lot. I have a son who is older now but Ms. Berenson is aptly descriptive of parenthood--the good and the bad.
I really like the way the series develops. I enjoy the characters of her Aunt Peg, her Aunt Rose, and her feckless brother Frank. As the series continues, more of the personality of these relatives is developed. It's like having your own less than perfect relatives drop in to cause problems.
Lastly, I'm a cat person, not a dog person. However, I have noticed the dog based mysteries are better than the cat based ones. The characters in Lillian Jackson Braun's "cat who" series are so shallow compared to Ms. Berenson's characters.