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    Review of RAINING CATS & DOGS by Laurien Berenson (see her website)


    Kensington, September 2005

    Seeking a way to escape the influence of her dominating aunt, Melanie Travis, and her champion poodle Faith, sign up for dog obedience classes. The class is a hotbed of rumor and past affairs, but they do one good thing--they visit a senior housing center weekly to let the residents visit with their dogs. Meanwhile, Melanie's life is getting very complicated with a new husband, her seven-year-old son, and five poodles living in a very small house, plus a job where one of her fellow teachers seems unduely interested in a well developed, but still 12-year-old seventh grader. Then there's the sexy neighbor with cats and a permanently missing husband.

    On her first visit to the senior housing campus, one of the guests dies--and the police discover it is murder. Recognizing Melanie's history of solving mysteries, her fellow obedience school members urge her to discover the killer. With a bit of pressure, and some help, from her aunt, Melanie sets off to do just that.

    Author Laurien Berenson (see more reviews of novels by Berenson) maintains a light tone, provides lots of information about dog training and showing, if not so much about the mysteries she's solving, and recognizes the importance of personal life in her sleuth. Indeed, half the fun is watching Melanie solve mysteries between running around with her dogs, trying to keep her son entertained, exploring the sexy side of her new marriage, and dealing with an overcrowded life.

    RAINING CATS AND DOGS is an enjoyable story. I would have liked to see a bit more sleuthing and mystery mixed in with the 'life of Melanie Travis,' but that didn't keep RAINING from being an enjoyable story. Dog-lovers, in particular, will appreciate Berenson's attention to the interaction between dogs and their human-companions.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 10/07/05

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