THE PORTRAIT OF DOREENE GRAY, by Esri Allbritten
Billed as a chihuahua novel, this mystery is one of those cozies that semi-stars an animal, in this case a pointy-fanged teacup beset with attitude who is the pet of Doreene Pinter, also beset with attitude. Years ago, Doreene's twin sister Maureen painted her portrait. Today, only the portrait ages, and Doreene - now nearly 60 - looks literally half her age. Enter the staff of the someday-famous Tripping magazine (which concentrates on paranormal vacations), intent on a story about Doreene's home town, Port Townsend, Washington. Between Doreene's Brazilian lover, Tripping's manipulative editor Angus MacGregor, lead writer Michael Abernathy, and photographer and hottie Suki Oota, the weird goings-on chez Doreene will be thoroughly investigated. Touted as a laugh a line, the story doesn't quite make it. But it is amusing, and you may enjoy the various antics of woman, man and beast. A 3.