Book Review: Jingle Bell Bark by Laurien Berenson

by - Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Title: Jingle Bell Bark (A Melanie Travis Mystery)
Author: Laurien Berenson
Genre: Murder Mystery
Form: Hardcover (my copy) 
Publisher: Kensington Publishing 

Jingle Bell Bark ~ Book Description:

Holidays are just around the corner.  And Melanie Travis, a special needs tutor at a private school (Howard Academy), just wants to have a ‘dull moment’ for Christmas or, at least, days before.  But she’s a very busy woman.  Being a mother to an eight-year-old boy (Davey), a teacher, an owner of two wonderful Standard Poodles, Faith and Eve (Eve’s currently entered in a dog show), engaged to a great guy named Sam (who has three poodles of his own), it’s highly unlikely to happen.  Plus, she has Aunt Peg. Enough said. (You’ll know what I mean once you read the book.) 

As if the above mentioned were not more than enough to fill Melanie’s days already.  Her son’s school bus driver, Henry Pruitt, liked and trusted by everyone in the neighborhood, disappears.  Soon, she and her friend, Alice Brickman, will find out that Henry’s dead – under “suspicious circumstances”.  And Henry’s house is left with two Golden Retrievers, Pepper and Remington, that are now lonely, confused and abandoned.  Of course, Melanie just can’t ignore the two lovely dogs.  She finds them a home.  Where?   To her Aunt Peg, of course, who also loves dogs, “breeder of Standard Poodles par excellence”, and, now, determined to find out what really happened to Henry.  

This only means that Melanie will be helping as well – whether she likes it or not.  Aunt Peg always needs her help.  Join Melanie Travis and the rest of the characters as they let you into the world of raising and showing dogs, while solving a murder mystery.

Book Review: ‘Jingle Bell Bark’

“I’ve learned a lot about Standard Poodles on this one. It’s rather fascinating! The murder mystery is quite engaging.”My Book and My Coffee

This is the 11th book in the Melanie Travis murder mystery series.  I haven’t read the others yet but I do have “Doggie Day Care Murder” (15th book) on my TBR pile. And I am actually hoping to read the first one in this series as I think it’ll be worth it and fun!

If you are not a dog lover, I should warn you now that this book may not be for you.  Now, I don’t have a dog of my own at the moment, but I see myself as a dog lover.  It’s hard not to love them, actually.  In this book, I’ve learned a lot about poodles.  The author, Laurien Berenson, made sure that her protagonist, Melanie, mentioned necessary and educational dog facts as she narrated the whole story.  I think these facts will help readers to understand and appreciate certain scenarios in the story.  And clearly, I don’t know much about dogs, especially poodles, as most of the facts mentioned here were really new to me. Like, did you know that a poodle ‘in hair’ can only be patted in very specific places?  I’ll let you discover the rest.  I’ll  also tell you now that two of the chapters here are solely dedicated to the dog show where Melanie’s Eve, Peg’s Zeke and Sam’s Tar are all entered.

If you are looking for a light mystery novel, then you should definitely give 'Jingle Bell Bark' a go.  For me, it doesn’t matter if the book is a light or 'hardcore' mystery.  The important thing is it did make me guess.  It made me think.  I kept on thinking who killed Henry. He is well-liked by everyone, so how come? And who will want to kill him?  Or did he pay a price for being liked by everyone? As they investigate, they will find all sorts of unexpected things, especially from Henry’s past.  And the ladies in Henry’s life. 

What do I think about the characters?  Aunt Peg, you’ll find her very influential (sometimes, too influential), but you’ll definitely love her.  Melanie Travis – no questions. I do love her character.  Sam (the fiancé) and Bob (the ex-husband), I’m thrilled about these two.  Davey (the eight year old son), I find him really adorable, and he shared Oreo cookies to someone that he hasn't even met before, so yes, I totally adore him! Oreo cookies addict here ;) Henry’s two daughters, Oh, if I could strangle them, I would.  I really would.  Hah! (Effective characters, indeed). Alice Brickman (one of her best friends), Frank (Melanie’s brother), Bertie (Frank’s wife), and the rest of the characters are also wonderful. 

All in all, I would recommend this book to you guys given that you love a good light mystery, an amateur sleuth fan, and of course, a dog or pet lover. 

Jingle Bell Bark by Laurien Berenson is available in Paperback ~ Price: $7.00

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10 Dazzling Comments

  1. Hello ARA. Great and honest review. I am excited to read this one. Dogs and mystery, perfect combination. xD

  2. Hello , new follower from Book Blogs, please return the favor and follow me back at:

  3. Hi Carryle. Thank you for visiting my blog and reading my review ;) Take care. So true, dogs and mystery - perfect combination! :D

  4. Hi Soma. Thank you for following me. Followed back ;) - Ara

  5. Hi, I tagged you with the Liebster Award on my blog. The post is: :)

  6. Hello there! Wow! I'll definitely check that out ;)

  7. Hey Ara!

    This cover makes me want CHRISTMAS! ;) The tree is my favorite part. I'm not a big mystery reader, but I'm a HUGE dog lover - two mini schnauzers of my very own that are nudging me to play as I type. haha!

    Oh, and I wanted to let you know that I have a new blog button! Don't know if you're interested, but I'm about to start adding some now and you'll be on there too. :)

    Jenna Lynne @ Between the Bind

  8. Hello Jenna! Yes, same here HAHA! Awww Mini schnauzers - They are naturally cute and adorable. I love that! You must spend hours grooming them, am I right?

    Anyway, yes, I would grab your button in a bit. Thank you for adding mine.
    - Ara

  9. Hi Ara,
    I've nominate you for a 'Liebster' blog award! I love your blog and think it's visually fabulous as well as having great info. Check out my blog for details: MY FIRST BLOG AWARD!!
    - Laura

  10. Hi Laura! Wow, thank you for nominating me ;) And thanks, I'm glad you like my blog. Visiting your blog now. Congratulations on your first blog award ;D Let's celebrate!