Two aunts, a bridge club and a murder
Fans of the long-running Murder, She Wrote television show, featuring the late Angela Lansbury, will welcome Versailles author Laurien Berenson’s new Senior Sleuth Mystery book series, a spinoff of her popular Melanie Travis Canine Mysteries.
Featuring Melanie’s two meddlesome aunts, the first book, Peg and Rose Solve a Murder, finds the pair, who think of themselves as complete opposites, edging toward common ground and a tenuous truce after decades of bickering that began with Peg’s engagement to Rose’s brother. While Rose spent the bulk of her life in a convent learning to be meek and subservient, Peg earned a reputation as a stern dog show judge who commands respect. Both, however, have a penchant for details and a tenacity for the truth when it comes to solving crimes.
When Peg surprisingly accepts Rose’s invitation to partner with her in a bridge club, the ice between them begins to thaw. All is not as it seems with the club, though, and soon Peg and Rose find themselves in the middle of scandalous secrets, ominous warnings and one very dead new friend. Will they heed the local detective’s advice to mind their own business before it’s too late? Or will the two be able to put aside their grudges and lean on each other’s strengths to solve the mystery?
Bridge players will appreciate Berenson’s own attention to detail as she writes into the story a play-by-play of the bridge club’s games using terminology familiar to adept players. Dog lovers will enjoy an inside look at the shows Peg officiates, the dog training knowledge and care that Peg has mastered and the incorporated tips from a fictional dog whisperer.
Peg’s passion comes honestly as Berenson is also a veteran of the dog show world. She and her family have been involved in the canine sport going back three generations, lending credibility to Peg’s high esteem and confidence in her judging reputation and abilities.
About her cantankerous characters, Berenson says they are “more trouble than a sack of cats.” But she enjoyed writing their story, and explains, “Peg has been a voice inside my head for so long that I loved being able to finally let her out to do her own thing. I hope you’ll give her book a try. Otherwise, Peg will never let you hear the end of it—and trust me, nobody wants that.”
To date, Laurien Berenson has written 27 Melanie Travis mysteries in addition to this latest spinoff. All revolve around the world of dog shows, leading to her four-time win of the Maxwell Award, presented by the Dog Writers Association of America. She and her husband enjoy being surrounded by dogs and horses on their Versailles farm.
Peg and Rose Solve a Murder, Kensington Publishing, $26, can be found online or at all major book retailers. Connect with Berenson or subscribe to her newsletter at www.LaurienBerenson.com.