When Melanie’s brother and ex-husband buy a Christmas tree lot, soon the whole family is drawn into sprucing up the neglected business. During a walk through the property, they discover the body of Pete, a local homeless man known to have had an addiction to alcohol. Keeping vigil is his beloved little Maltese dog, shivering in the cold near the branch that struck down Pete.

While the death is initially ruled an accident, Melanie is soon pulling at the threads of Pete’s past when his sponsor informs her the dead man had quit drinking and was attempting to put his life back together. Melanie figures out who he was and then tracks down his former family and friends in an effort to discover who might have wanted Pete gone for good.

Ms. Berenson never disappoints with her Melanie Travis series, once again providing readers with a generous serving of clues, dogs and family interaction.

5 Stars