Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A PUG'S TALE by Alison Pace

A PUG’S TALE – Alison Pace
Berkley Books
ISBN: 978-0-425-24119-6
June 2011
Cozy Mystery

New York, New York - Present Day

Hope McNeill loves pugs. She has Max as her constant companion; he even accompanies her to work. Hidden in her Sherpa dog-carry bag, he travels incognito into the Metropolitan Museum of Art every day. Hope works in the Conservation Department of the museum, restoring and cleaning paintings and other works of art. She has grown to love Max in the months he’s been with her. Max actually belongs to her boyfriend, Ben, but Ben is out of the country volunteering his legal expertise in some far away place to help the underprivileged. Ben is supposed to return home soon and, maybe then, they can talk about where their relationship is heading. Meanwhile, Hope has Max for comfort.

Daphne Markham is a wealthy philanthropist who is donating a huge sum of money to the museum, so tonight is Pug Night at the Met. Hope brings Max out of hiding and joins the party, watching a multitude of pugs salivating under the hors d'oeuvres table. But when Max attacks Daphne’s pug, Madeleine, Hope is forced to take him back to her workstation in the Conservation Room where she discovers a forged painting has replaced a valuable work of art. Hope is terrified. She calls the only person she can think of, her boss, Elliot. Hope has secretly been in love with Elliot for a while, until she met Ben, and she’s nervous about calling him at home, but he immediately comes to her aid. While waiting for Elliot, Hope runs into Development Officer Gil Turner, and he quickly gets involved. Gil refuses to call the police. And so, the next day, Hope, Elliot, and Gil are explaining to private investigator Chaz Greene about the theft. They can’t leak the heist to the police; if they do, the press will pick it up and Daphne might pull her donation from the museum.

A PUG’S TALE begins on a lark with Pug Night at the Museum, but when Hope discovers a valuable painting is missing and someone has placed a forgery inside her department, she becomes determined to find the culprit and solve the mystery. Gil wants to keep the theft quiet; Elliot isn’t talking, and for some reason, their fellow staff person, Sergei, is missing. Did he steal the painting? When Hope receives an anonymous email and a clue, she becomes involved in her own investigation while trying to dodge the suspicions Gil and Elliot are casting her way.

A comical and light hearted mystery, A PUG’S TALE is also a fabulous chick-lit novel! The characters are lively, and the story keeps the reader guessing all the way to the final pages where a surprise twist brings an unexpected conclusion.

Diana Risso

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