Game of Dog Bones By Laurien Berenson: Review/Giveaway/Guest Post

Jul 11, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Pets, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy
& Laurien Berenson

This week we have a review of Game of Dog Bones By Laurien Berenson and a dog related guest post by Laurien. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and links to purchase it.

As far as dog shows go, Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden is top in the country, the oldest, and most prestigious. Dog handlers and owners vie for the chance to show and perhaps win or place.

Judging Westminster is also a top honor. This year Melanie’s Aunt Peg is judging the Non-Sporting Group. That means Melanie, Sam, Davie, and Kevin will be there to watch her success. The only fly in the ointment is Victor. He’s a former member of the local Poodle club, and of course, Peg plays a large part in running it. Victor was asked to leave the club, formed his own, and poached as many members as he could. The club’s purpose is to better the Poodle breed. Victor’s purpose was to make as much money as possible so he bred his dogs to other breeds, resulting in schoodles (Schnauzer-Poodle mix) and the like, adopted to those with cash in hand, no checking for good homes, and no genetic testing for potential disease.

In an effort to detract from a seminar Peg is teaching, he sets up his own dog show at the same time. Still, her event is a success while his, not so much. With Peg’s seminar and judging over, the family isn’t obligated to attend the last day although Melanie would have loved to. It was just as well. While the dog fanciers and fans were cheering the Best in Show, Victor was being stabbed to death in the men’s room downstairs.

The list of those who hated Victor is long. The list of those who hated Victor enough to kill him and had the opportunity, is shorter but not by much. Even his business partner is openly relieved to hear the news. Peg instructs Melanie to ask a few questions. After all, Peg is one of the suspects. The more Melanie finds out about Victor’s treatment of dogs, business practices, and treatment of partners, business and personal, the more she thinks the world is a better place without him.

This is book twenty-five in the popular series. For an inside look into Westminster, the information is such a part of the story, it never intrudes on the mystery. Crawford and Terry have their own moment to shine, too, both in the show ring and out. Melanie is not one to take chances although she is beginning to stand up for herself more often. Sam is truly the best husband for her. Davie is well, a teenager, sometimes helpful, sometimes not. Kev and his dog Bud, a mixed breed and voracious eater, found beside the road, are added humor. Living with them and six Poodles require a lot of patience. And Peg? Well, she’s in charge, as always, and requiring more patience than the dogs.

This is a series I always look forward to reading. If you love dogs, you’ll love this series, too.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. A Murder of Crows, edited by Sandra Murphy (a popular title so you need her name to search), has twenty-one cozy stories. Each features the collective name of an animal and a crime. The animals range from tarantulas, koalas, wolves, bears, jellyfish, toads, cats, dogs, alpaca, goats, penguins and more. No animals were harmed. The people weren’t so lucky. Available at the usual outlets, print or ebook.

Things I’ve Learned From My Dogs
Laurien Berenson

I’m fortunate to have spent my life in the company of canines. Big dogs, small dogs, hairy dogs, and sleek dogs have all shared my couch and my heart. I have loved each of them with a passion, matched only by the fervor with which they adored me. So it’s not surprising that when I fulfilled my dream of becoming an author, I wanted to write stories about the bond between dogs and their people.

The protagonist of my Melanie Travis mystery series is a wife, a mother, and a special needs tutor at a private school. She’s also a dedicated Standard Poodle breeder and dog show exhibitor. I enjoy writing my human characters. But in my books, the canine supporting cast always gets equal time. That just makes sense to me.

Laurien Berenson

Especially now—when face-to-face human contact is sometimes scarce and the daily news is often more depressing than uplifting—dogs take on an even greater role in our lives. They’re a source of comfort when we’re worried. They’re sympathetic confidants when there’s no one else to talk to.

My dogs haven’t only served as friends and companions, however. They’ve also been my teachers. These are some of the things I’ve learned while enjoying their company.

—Chase every squirrel. Bring back every ball. Make the most of every moment, even those that seem small and insignificant. They’re not.

—Tell your friends and family you love them every day.

—Take naps, but keep one ear cocked for the possibility of a new adventure.

—Always give your best effort. Anyone who’s ever watched a Border Collie herd sheep or do agility has been witness to the sheer joy of throwing oneself, heart and soul, into an endeavor.

—Be curious. Dig a few holes. You never know what you might unearth.

—If something smells bad, investigate.

—Never become complacent. Make noise when people do things that are wrong or offensive. Let the whole world know that you’re watching and you object.

—Don’t be picky about food. Try everything at least once.

—Tackle hard problems by chipping away at them until they become manageable. Just like whittling a big bone down to size.

—At the end of the day, there’s nothing better than curling up on a couch in front of a warm fire.

And to finish with a nod to our current difficult times:

—This too shall pass. Because, good or bad, nothing lasts forever.

Everyone who has loved a dog has had to face the sad fact that with the brevity of the canine lifespan, eventually you must say good-bye. I hope you will be comforted, as I have been, by the knowledge that if there is a heaven surely your dogs will be there waiting for you when you arrive.

To enter to win a copy of Game of Dog Bones, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “bones,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 18, 2020. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE AWARE THAT IT WILL TAKE MUCH LONGER THAN USUAL FOR WINNERS TO GET THEIR BOOKS DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up this week!

You can use this link to purchase this book from indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy, and KRL gets a portion of the sale:

You can use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Laurien Berenson is the author of the Melanie Travis mystery series, set in the world of dog shows. There are currently twenty-five titles including Game of Dog Bones. The series has won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, and was nominated for Agatha and Macavity awards. She and her husband live on a farm in Kentucky, surrounded by horses and dogs.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  2. Adorable cover positive DOT ideas DOT 4you AT gmail DOT com

  3. Lauren Berenson is . my all time favourite Author her Books are the best

  4. Loved this blog post! My favorite advice is “Be curious. Dig a few holes. You never know what you might unearth.” I live by this!

  5. This is my favorite series. Thanks for the chance to win this.

  6. I am very sad to learn this contest is not open to Canadian residents. We love Laurien Berensen as well!!! I have almost all her books in my personal library, it upsets me that we are excluded from this contest

  7. Laurien Berenson’s series is wonderful and very special. Memorable books which I would and enjoy. This beautiful ode to dogs is true and makes my dog even more precious and delightful.

  8. Would really love to read. I like dogs and animals featured in books.

  9. This is such a cute cover, would love to get a copy! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

  10. Love this series. Looking forward
    to reading this new installment.
    thanks for the chance to get it
    soon. txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

  11. Cute pup on the cover, I look forward to reading this! Thanks! nani_geplcs(at)yahoo(dot)com

  12. We have a winner!


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