Retro Reading: Death in Show by Judi McCoy
Getting a Treat at this Competition can be Murder
In the fictional world of Ellie Engleman a year hasn't gone by yet, but for some reason she's been in the wrong place at the wrong time and has somehow managed to help solve three murders.
Back for a third installment of the Dog Walker Mystery series, author Judi McCoy is on track with Death in Show a very fast paced novel set in the world of competitive dog shows.
Flora Steinman, one of Ellie's clients, invites her to be her guest at the Mid-Atlantic Canine Challenge (MACC) to watch her Havanese, Lulu compete. Backstage, she meets a wide variety of characters (and suspects) as Lulu's handler Arnie collapses in the ring during the show.
It doesn't take long before Ellie's (now boyfriend) Sam Ryder shows up and when he realizes Ellie's there he's not too happy about another murder featuring her.
When the chaos calms down a bit, Flora suggests to Ellie that she become Lulu's handler and despite attempts to back down she reluctantly goes ahead with the older woman's wish. Even though she knows all eyes will be on the dogs Ellie's one fear is that her mother will find out about her being on television and the criticism she'll bestow upon her.
After a quick crash course in handling, Ellie gets through the competition and the two lavish parties Flora has, but when Detective Dreamy and his partner, Vince, show up at one of the parties its not without good cause.
Earlier they had received a note advising them to check Mrs. Steinman's coat where they find a dog treat (which was laced with poison) and haul her down to the station for questioning with Ellie in tow.
For those who haven't discovered this series, Ellie is able to communicate with Rudy, her rescued shelter dog, and the other dogs which she walks. It was a gift she picked up after adopting Rudy who was her dog in a previous life.
With the help of Rudy she gets closer to solving the murder of Arnie just as her own life is in danger.
As in the first installment of the series, McCoy injects humor with Rudy's zingers, but at the same time also shows the devoted love dogs have to share with us. Since Rudy's character is based on McCoy's own Rudy, this book has much more meaning and her dedication to him is touching since he has passed away (and for those who have loved and lost a special companion it makes it even more touching).