Murder's on the ticket when intrepid poodle breeder Melanie Travis
travels to Maryland for a world-famous dog show where the competition
isn't the only thing that's cutthroat. . .
There are dog shows. And then there's the PCA: The Poodle Club of
America National Specialty Dog Show. For poodle purists, it's the
pinnacle of the show season, drawing thousands of competitors and
spectators from all over the world. And though she has her own Standard
poodle puppy, Eve, to show, Melanie gets leashed into helping out on the
raffle committee by her formidable aunt. Selling tickets and sprucing
Eve up for competition won't leave much time for Melanie to spend with
her almost-fiancй Sam on their first trip together without their usual
chaperone, Melanie's seven-year-old son, Davey.
Once in Maryland, Melanie is put to work selling raffle tickets by the
co-chairs of the raffle committee, Betty Jean and Edith Jean Boone.
Sixty-ish steel magnolias from the South, the reclusive sisters make few
appearances. But this year, they have a silver Toy puppy that has
already caused quite a buzz on the show circuit.
Even though the poodles remain well behaved, it's their owners and
handlers who start acting up. And then murder takes center stage. Betty
Jean is found dead at the host hotel. But this is the PCA--and the show
must go on. As Edith Jean staunchly resumes her raffle duties, Melanie
instinctively starts searching for clues, and comes up with a compelling
cast of suspects: a rival owner whose bite may be just as bad as his
bark, a handler with a nasty reputation, and a possibly fraudulent pet
With all the attention riveted on the ring, someone out in the crowd is
about to get away with murder. Scraps of conversations and suspicious
goings-on have Melanie looking for a suspect--and getting ever closer to
the killer. Soon she's shocked to discover that in the dog-eat-dog world
of showing, a life can be as easily lost as a blue ribbon. And unlike
cats, dogs--and their owners--have only one to risk. . .