Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dogs and Mysteries go together like Bees and Honey


I couldn't help noticing, as an afterthought, that all seven of my published mysteries and the three coming up have dogs in them. I take that back, Murder Passes the Buck didn't, but by book two a German Shepherd appeared on the scene and settled in for Gertie's wild ride. Just like that. In the doll collecting mysteries, Gretchen has a teacup poodle named Nimrod and other miniature critters make cameo appearances.

I don't seem to have any control over that aspect of my writing. So I wasn't surprised when a K-9 police dog showed up in the beekeeping mysteries (first coming in September) as Story Fischer's boyfriend's partner. Ben isn't a Bloodhound. He's a Belgian Malinois and he's utterly awesome as a search and rescue dog, searching for bad guys and rescuing good ones. I was going to write the search scene in book two using a pair of panties but changed that to pj bottoms instead. Don't ask me why. (The decision was made before I stumbled across the above photo!)

Writing dogs into our tales can be tricky. We can't just go off and forget about them. When Fred (in Murder Grins and Bears It) rode around with Gertie all day, my editor complained.
"Gertie never even gave him a drink of water," she said.
"Hunh?" I said.
"Your readers are paying attention. You HAVE to take good care of Fred."
So I went back and worked in drinks for Fred. Now Gertie drives around with a canning jar filled with water and I show her giving him water and feeding him.


Yesterday, while working on my next book, a scruffy, ugly Chihuahua mix arrived on the page without any warning. Dinky (that's her name) belongs to one of the suspects and Story gets roped into taking care of her for a few days. I didn't see that coming. And have to wonder what the heck I'm going to do with this new addition. And don't tell me to go back and edit her out. She showed up. She stays.

Do you like animals in mysteries? Or doesn't it matter? And if I forget to feed Dinky, will you notice?