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Judged To Death - A Mathias Dog Show Mystery

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When Maggie Pelham tries to help dog show judge Benji French escape the clutches of a South American dog trafficking ring, she finds herself facing almost-certain death at the hands of the criminals. Her sidekick, wire fox terrier Mathias, finding himself left alone overnight for the first time in his life, knows something isn't right. In true terrier fashion, he doesn't give up until he has alerted someone to Maggie's predicament and ends up saving the day, Almost!.

Mystery / Other
Age Rating:

Chapter 1


“That just about does it.”

Maggie Pelham stood in her mother’s driveway and looked at all her dog show paraphernalia, neatly stacked and secured on the back of her motor home. She was ready to hit the road again after a three-week break from dog showing. Before going on break, she had helped a young detective solve a murder at the last dog show she’d attended, held in northern Virginia.

Maggie earned her living as a professional dog show handler. She had taken her wire fox terrier Mathias, and two other dogs, to the Virginia show, when shockingly a popular fellow handler was murdered. No less, by a twin brother that no one even knew existed.

At one point, Maggie was considered a suspect, but with a little digging on her own, plus Mathias’s detective skills, they were able in the end to lead the cops to the real culprit--the jealous twin brother who, as a week-old infant, was placed in a far-off relative’s home where he grew up working for his “dad” as a plumber’s helper. A job he totally detested.

He wanted out, he wanted respect, and in a blinding fit of passion, murdered his handler brother, to sadly end the life chosen for him.

After that grueling experience, Maggie decided to head back to South Carolina to spend time with her mother. Along with the daily demands of dog grooming and training, she had stayed in touch with Bryan Mitchell, the detective she had helped solve the murder. They had developed a relationship of sorts, but she doubted anything would come of it. He wasn’t going to leave his job and go on the road with her. And she had no intention of leaving her dog-show career behind.

That’s just how it was in this dog show business. Not a career conducive to lasting relationships.

“Well, Mom,” Maggie said, turning toward her mother who was standing nearby. “It looks like I have everything on board. I guess it’s time to hit the road.”

Mrs. Pelham enveloped her daughter in a big hug. “I wish you didn’t have to leave so soon. It seems like you just got here. It gets lonely around this big old place. I don’t want to see you leave.”

“I know, Mom,” Maggie sighed. “But I have to make a living. I wish you would give in and go with me for a few weeks. I think you would enjoy it.”

“I know you do, dear,” her mother said. “But I just can’t be away that long. This old place would give up the ghost without me.

Promise me you will come back more often.”

“I promise,” Maggie said, hugging her mother while quickly wiping away a teardrop before her mother saw it. She turned, picked up Mathias to put him in the dog bus so they could leave before she changed her mind. The shows in Raleigh started in one day and she wanted to get there so she could find a good place to set up.

Waving to her mother as she turned the motor home around to head toward the street, Maggie eased her rig into the after-school traffic that tended to be heavy at this time of day, and headed toward the interstate highway.

On her way at last.

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