by Toni LoTempio
While I admit I’m partial to feline detectives, I have a soft spot in my heart for canine ones as well! Here are a few excellent cozies featuring some Sherlock-like pooches!
The Barking Detective Series – Waverly Curtis
Since I also have a soft spot for animals that talk (long story) one of my favorites is The Barking Detective series featuring Pepe, the talking Chihuahua! Pepe may have soft white fur, big brown eyes, and mucho attitude--but he's no furry fashion fad. Pepe can talk--even if his new owner, Geri Sullivan, seems to be the only person who can understand him.
In volume 1, Dial C for Chihuahua, Geri takes on her first assignment for a quirky investigator named Jimmy G and stumbles over a Seattle millionaire's corpse, Pepe proves to be worth his weight in liver treats. Suspicion falls on the not-so-grieving widow, who wants to finance a reality TV show, Dancing With Dogs, and Geri, who found the body. She and Pepe go undercover to ferret out the real killer and clear Geri’s name.
All in all a very entertaining series worth a look.
The Dog Walker Detective Series by Judi McCoy
This fun series features Ellie Engleman, psychic dog-walker! Elle discovers that she can hear what her canine clientele is thinking, a talent that comes in handy in the first volume, Hounding the Pavement, when a dog’s owner turns up dead.
In the latest entry, Fashion Faux Paw, It's Fashion Week in New York and Ellie's in charge of the dogs' modeling outfits that match their mommy-mdoels for a fashion competition. But before the first round closes, one of the designers drops dead of anaphylactic shock, her Epipen useless because someone's emptied it.
The victim's peanut allergy was well-known, so Ellie and her dog Rudy must comb through the brash designer's rivals, colleagues, and many enemies to discover who was so desperate that she committed the ultimate crime of fashion.
Last but definitely not least….
The Animals in Focus Mystery Series – Sheila Webster Boneham
Not only has the very talented Sheila Webster Boneham written countless non-fiction books on dogs and cats, she has a series from Midnight Ink that features an Australian Shepherd! Drop Dead on Recall features 50-something animal photographer Janet MacPhail, her Aussie Jay, and her tabby cat Leo! (You knew a cat would get in here somehow, didn’t you????) When a talented handler is murdered at an obedience trial, Janet becomes a “Person of Interest.” Janet and her canine and feline friends all band together to sniff out the killer.
In the second volume, The Money Bird, a photo session at Twisted Lake takes a peculiar turn as Drake, her friend Tom’s Labrador, fetches a blood-soaked bag holding an exotic feather and a torn one-hundred-dollar bill.
When one of her photography students turns up dead at the lake, Janet investigates a secretive retreat center with help from Australian Shepherd Jay and her quirky neighbor Goldie. Between dog-training classes, photo assignments, and romantic interludes with Tom, Janet is determined to get to the bottom of things before another victim’s wings are clipped for good.
Book 3 – Catwalk – gives equal time to both cats and dogs! (‘cause that’s the kind of person Sheila is!) When Janet gets a frantic call from champion dog owner Alberta Shofelter about a "cat-napping," she and her Australian Shepherd Jay jump in to assist. Fur flies when the search turns into a nasty run-in with local big shot Charles Rasmussen, a bully who enjoys throwing his weight around.
As Rasmussen makes good on his promise to cause trouble, Janet tries to keep up with her mom's romantic travails, figure out her own relationship with Tom, and train her animals for the upcoming agility trials. But when a body is discovered at the Dog Dayz event, it stops the participants dead in their tracks—and sets Janet on the trail of a killer. Catwalk is available now for pre-order.
Hope this has given you a few good canine mysteries to sink your teeth into! Next time…ROCCO and I chat about the Nick and Nora mystery series and how he became the inspiration!
While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. Toni is also passionate about her love for animals, as demonstrated with her four cats: Trixie, Princess, Maxx and, of course, ROCCO, who not only provided the inspiration for the character of Nick the cat in the Nick and Nora mystery series, but who also writes his own blog and does charity work for Nathan Fillion’s charity, Kids Need to Read! Toni’s also devoted to miniseries like The Thorn Birds, Dancing with the Stars, reruns of Murder She Wrote and Castle (of course!). She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, Meow if Its Murder, debuts Dec. 2, 2014. She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Follow ROCCO’s blog for author interviews and contests at www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com