Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A PUG’S TALE by Alison Pace

Publisher: Berkley
Date published: June 7, 2012
Cozy Mystery
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained via publisher.

There are two things in Hope McNeill’s life that make it perfect. Well three. (1) her Pug, Max, who is actually her boyfriend’s Pug but at the moment Max is Hope’s because said boyfriend is out of the country; (2) her job at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and (3) her boyfriend Ben. But Ben is out of the country so all is not as perfect as it could be.

But! To Hope’s delight, the museum is holding a gala which not only includes the crème de la crème of New York, even better the guests’ Pugs have been invited. Since there will be Pug’s en masse at the event, she brings Max. After all, he does accompany her to work most days. Despite being enamored, or just hopeful at the buffet table, Max just sits there hoping for a tidbit. But before he can draw someone poor unsuspecting soul into his plot for food he takes off after the guest of honor, Daphne Markham’s Pug, Madeline. In moments the entire fete is in disarray with Hope at the center of it. Actually, that would be Max, but since he’s there with Hope…well you know what I mean. In an attempt to bring some order to the evening after Max’s misbehavior, Hope heads off to her work area at the museum. Unfortunately Max has another attack of sorts and at the end of his tirade Hope finds a piece of art, the Fantin Latour pansies, in her workshop. It turns out that the painting isn’t quite what it seems and Hope is on the case.

When A PUG’S TALE by Alison Pace arrived I couldn’t resist it. While I myself am a cat person and on the staff of four kitties, I would love to one day have a dog. A pug would fit in quite well with my family and I couldn’t resist the huggable group on the cover. Max is a terrific character. He’s cuddly, smart, and feisty. He’s the best part of the entire book with how Ms. Pace describes him and his actions. She truly captured a dog’s psyche. I’d read another book with Max as a lead character.

Hope kind of left me flat. I felt like the author wanted to write a cozy mystery and found a list of things you need in a cozy and began to apply them. A PUG’S TALE is not your usual mystery with the heroine finding a dead body. Instead there is an intriguing puzzle that kind of reminded me like playing the game of Clue. I think we’d all like to meet an eccentric philanthropist like Daphne. With her pug Madeline and her Ahoy’s she is quite a character. The secondary characters like Ben, Gil and Elliott kind of left me flat. We are reminded far too often that at one point Daphne thought she was in love with Elliott. I couldn’t see why.

I read Ms. Pace’s PUG HILL a few months ago and was less than impressed. I picked up A PUG’S TALE to see how she had progressed as an author and because I couldn’t resist the cover. She has come quite some way, there is a definite change for the better in her writing and I would definitely read another story that featured Max.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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