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The Portrait of Doreene Gray by Esri…
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The Portrait of Doreene Gray

by Esri Allbritten

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Tripping Magazine Mystery (2)

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By coincidence, the staff of Tripping Magazine (news of places where paranormal activity is known or rumored to take place), is investigating another strange case where the owner has a Chihuahua. Fortunately for the 'a Chihuahua mystery' subtitle on the cover, Ms. Allbritten ensures there will be at least one Chihuahua in the future.

The supernatural mystery this time is how Doreene Gray still looks young while the portrait painted by her well-known artist twin, Maureen (not to mention Maureen herself), has aged. Doreene intends to auction off the painting. Maureen is against it. The nicest member of this household is Doreene's Chihuahua, Gigi, although Lupita (the cook/housekeeper) and Reynaldo (Doreene's young man if you're being kind, her toy boy if you aren't) are decent.

Angus, Suki, and Michael mange to get invited to the big house so they're around for some of the strange happenings. Michael thinks of rational explanations, Angus comes up with supernatural ones (because the readers would want it that way), and Suki's photographs come in handy.

There are some interesting visits to haunted sites in the area -- especially when the action gets going. The book also has humor to recommend it. I particularly enjoyed Michael's sarcastic idea for a horoscope and Angus' rationale for calling their little magazine an international publication. I also got a kick out of the names of three other Chihuahuas mentioned in the last chapter, especially the third one.

There are a lot of secrets in Doreene's family and things get ugly when they start getting exposed. If you enjoyed the first book, Chihuahua of the Baskervilles, you'll enjoy this second offering. ( )
  JalenV | May 20, 2014 |
First Line: Outside the darkened windows of Doreene Gray's second floor bedroom, a squall buffeted the house and whistled across the gingerbread trimming.

After dealing with the Chihuahua of the Baskervilles, the next stop on the Tripping Magazine staff's itinerary is Port Townsend, Washington. Their low-budget travel magazine is geared for believers in the paranormal, and they've gotten word that Doreene Gray is about to put her famous portrait on the auction block. What's paranormal about a portrait? It seems that Doreene, who's in her fifties, doesn't look a day over twenty-five, while the portrait of her that was painted by her twin sister, Maureene, looks a bit... weathered. Shades of Oscar Wilde? That's exactly what the Tripping staff wants to find out.

After inveigling their way into the Victorian mansion, they manage to impress the difficult woman and her Brazilian toy boy enough for Doreene to ask them to look into the strange things that have been happening. What's up with the strange slips of paper appearing in the soup, and why is some guy spending a lot of time sitting in a white Impala outside the house? Is Doreene's past catching up with her?

Although the two books in this series are called Chihuahua mysteries, the little dogs aren't the investigators, and neither are they paranormal elements. (You have to admit that the book cover for Doreene Gray gives the impression that the dog is deceased when all that's really happened is that the little guy got into some trouble and is trying to look angelic.) The resident Chihuahua in this book is Gigi, whose human is Doreene Gray herself. Suki the Tripping photographer finds herself involved with Gigi throughout the course of the book.

I have to admit that as soon as I found out that the setting of the book was Port Townsend, Washington, I was sold. I love that old Victorian town, and Allbritten takes us through its streets and even out to Fort Worden and Point Wilson Lighthouse. With just enough allusions to Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray to keep me guessing, the plot was fast-paced and fun.

Speaking of fun, I love the staff of Tripping! Michael Abernathy (main writer), Angus MacGregor (editor and cofounder) and Suki Oota (photographer) have all the sarcasm, skill and subterfuge born of familiarity with each other's working styles, although Suki is still able to surprise the two men on a regular basis. Just listening to them banter back and forth is worth the price of admission.

If you're looking for something light and funny, pick up a Chihuahua mystery and let the staff of Tripping take you on a search for the paranormal. You may not find any otherworldly elements, but you're going to have a blast while you're looking! ( )
  cathyskye | Jul 28, 2012 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Esri Allbrittenprimary authorall editionscalculated
istockphoto.com/Okan MetinCover photo of room & sofasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
istockphoto.com/Wint…Cover photo of picture framesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lifeonwhite.comCover photo of Chihuahuasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rotstein, David BaldeosinghCover design & photo illustrationsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
shutterstock.com/Alh…Cover photo of mustache & eyebrowssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Angel Joe

and the 'rents,

and to

the people of

Port Townsend, Washington
First words
Outside the darkened windows of Doreene Gray's second floor bedroom, a squall buffeted the house and whistled across the gingerbread trimming.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312569165, Hardcover)

“A little bit X-Files, a little bit Agatha Christie and a whole lotta charming. If you like your mysteries baffling, bizarre and, above all, fun, you're going to love it.”

--Steve Hockensmith, author of Holmes on the Range

 

In this laugh-out-loud-funny mystery, Angus MacGregor and the zany staff of Tripping Magazine, a travel magazine that covers paranormal destinations, investigate a bizarre story in a town brimming with secrets. Forty years ago, Maureene Pinter painted a portrait of her twin sister, Doreene. In an eerie turn of events, Doreene hasn’t aged, although her portrait has. When Doreene decides to sell the portrait, the Tripping team travel to Doreene’s mansion in Port Townsend, Washington, a Victorian town wreathed in mists and mysteries, to get the scoop on this intriguing story.

 

When strange strips of paper appear in her soup, Doreene invites Tripping to stay and solve the town’s many puzzles. Why does a man named Enrico Russo sit in a white Impala outside the mansion? And what does Lupita, the housekeeper, fear?  Soon, it becomes clear that while Doreene has kept her youthful looks, the past is catching up with her. Packed with laughs and featuring a mystery with a delightful literary twist, Esri Allbritten's The Portrait of Doreene Gray is a fabulously entertaining tale.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:52 -0400)

"Forty years ago, Maureene Pinter painted a portrait of her twin sister, Doreene. In an eerie turn of events, Doreene hasn't aged, although her portrait has. When Doreene decides to sell the portrait, the Tripping team travel to Doreene's mansion in Port Townsend, Washington, a Victorian town wreathed in mists and mysteries, to get the scoop on this intriguing story" -- Cover insert.… (more)

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