|Ellie Engleman, Manhattan dog walker extraordinaire, has been tapped to be a dog wrangler for this year’s Fashion Week when each model will be accompanied on the catwalk by a dog wearing a matching designer outfit. Ellie and her canine companion Rudy have a front row seat to all the excitement, and a swag bag of their own. Assisting Ellie is Kitty, the sister of an employee of the show’s sponsor, Nola Morgan Design, with plans to make their upscale department store debut in time for the fall season.
Ellie, who has a special talent, the ability to communicate with dogs using human speech, is privy not only to the catty comments from the models and designers, but from their canine counterparts as well. One model in particular, Lilah Perry, with her miniature Schnauzer, is extra high maintenance, but doesn’t deserve to die. Lilah’s peanut allergy is well-known and the model carries an EpiPen as a precaution, but when she begins to go into anaphylactic shock, Ellie finds the plunger of Lilah’s EpiPen already pushed down and the pen empty.
The police are less than thrilled to find Ellie and Rudy on the scene of yet another murder, as is Ellie’s boyfriend Sam, a member of the NYPD. Ellie swears she is going to stay out of this investigation, but when her runner Kitty becomes eligible to show her designs in the Fashion Week festivities as the runner up to Lilah, Ellie becomes fearful the young woman will be accused of murder, especially when Ellie learns that Kitty claims that Lilah won the original spot in the competition using Kitty’s designs. From her backstage vantage point, and with a little help from her canine friends, Ellie is able to eavesdrop and learn things that might just point to a killer.
Fashion Faux Paw is another enjoyable entry into the series featuring Rudy and Ellie, but the series has become a bit predictable and this plot is similar to an earlier episode where the duo solved a murder at a major dog show. Ellie and Rudy’s report is good, but Rudy’s intense dislike and disdain from Sam is growing old. The atmosphere is great with all the glitz and glamour, and cut throat antics of Fashion Week and the solution is a bit of a surprise, though it is not entirely satisfactorily explained after the revelation of who and why. The epilogue offers a glimpse of where Ellie and Rudy’s next adventure may take them and being out of the Big Apple may be just the thing to breathe some new life into the series.
--Jennifer Monahan Winberry