If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

July Interviews

7/1 Lena Gregory, Scone Cold Killer
7/8 Jessica Baker, Murder on the Flying Scotsman
7/15 TG Wolff, Driving Reign
7/22 Leslie Budewitz, The Solace of Bay Leaves
7/29 Cynthia Kuhn, The Study of Secrets

Saturday Guest Bloggers

7/11 Mark Dressler
7/18 James McCrone

WWK Bloggers:

7/4 Valerie Burns
7/25 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Thursday, July 6, 2017


I'm writing in nmy journal with Molly.

Dogs are popular in a lot of mysteries. I’m not sure if there are as many dogs as there are cats.
Probably because dogs need more care than a cat so a detective, real or amateur, can’t take off to investigate as easily. Pets tend to humanize a character. True or not, we think the character with a dog or cat as being a nice person. This is especially true if the reader is a cat or dog owner. I’ve written about cats in cozies before so now I’m writing about dogs.

In the United States 36.5% of households have dogs; a total of 69,926,000 dogs in all. The average household with canines has l.6 dogs which seems strange. I’ve never had a .6 dog.
Nor, come to think of it have I ever seen a .5 kid although some statistics say most families have 1.5 children. Is a .6 dog or a .5 child smaller than the average dog or child? And then I wonder how they get these statistics.
Dusty with my baby sister Cathi.
Anyway, I like dogs, but collies are my favorite. It could be because my mother used to talk about Fuzzy, the farm collie she grew up with. But more likely it’s because after I’d read all the horse books in our small school library numerous times, I turned to dog books and discovered Albert Payson Terhune. In reading his books, I absolutely fell in love with collies like Bruce, Lad and others he wrote about living at Sunnydale, his home in New Jersey. I got my first collie when I was sixteen. Dusty was a collie mix and showed up as a stray. When I got married and couldn’t take her with me, my parents gave her to a farmer. I grieved over that.


Through the years I’ve had other collies and two German shepherds almost all who came either as strays or I’d found in a classified ad. Since we lived in a rural area, all our dogs were outside dogs.  Shortly after I moved to the small farm I have now, the dog I had then, a German shepherd my son brought home as a puppy years before, had to be put down when his hip totally gave out. Since I was living on my own now and teaching, I didn’t have another dog for fifteen years. It wouldn’t be fair to have a dog when I was gone so much. Then I saw an ad  for collie pups and on an impulse went to see them and picked out a tiny six week old sable and white puppy. I named her Molly and fell completely in love with her. She was the first house dog I’d ever had. Everyone loved this little fluffy ball of fur, and because of all the attention, she became the friendliest dog I’ve ever known. Everyone she met was her new very best friend and she especially loved children. She got along with all animals; the dogs we met when walking the Greenway Trail, my ponies, cats and she’d herd my chickens back into their coop when I let them out to free range which frustrated them.  She even lovingly bathed a batch of tiny wild rabbits she’d unearthed from under a rosebush in my rose garden. 
Molly and I on our morning walk in the woods.

And then just short of her fifth birthday, she developed grand mal seizures. With medication the vet provided her seizures were controlled for a few weeks and then she had a massive seizure leaving h hind quarters paralyzed. I had no choice but to have her put to sleep. Holding her and singing to her as she licked the tears from my face while she was being injected was extremely sad, but at least I was with her. She quietly died in my arms. I brought her home and buried her in a flower garden near my house.

My youngest daughter wanted me to get another collie right away, but I wasn’t ready. Still, she went on-line and searched out collie breeders in my area. Collies are not as popular as they once were and not easy to find. I went on-line and checked out collie rescue sites, but all the collies available were senior collies or those with medical problems. Having just gone through the trauma of losing one beloved collie, I didn’t want one I’d be saying good-by to in a few years.
Maggie on a walk in the woods something she'd never done before.

Eventually, my daughter located two breeders reasonably close. Neither had any puppies or dogs available, but both said they’d have puppies in the fall which was fine with me. I wasn’t ready to replace Molly. When September came, one breeder called and said none of her girls took so there wouldn’t be any puppies. However, she had an eighteen-month tri-colored female, who didn’t show well so she’d sell her to me at a reasonable price. I went to see her and fell in love with her. She had a lot of champions in her blood-line which meant absolutely nothing to me. I had no interest in raising or showing dogs. The breeder had got her from Minnesota because of her pedigree. Her registered name is Twin Cities Born to Dance. Can you see me calling her by that name? She pointed out a few things that kept her from doing well in a show ring, but when I got to know Maggie, as I named her, I decided the real reason was that unlike Molly, she was a shy dog and new situations made her nervous. I couldn’t see her showing well with crowds of strange people and dogs.

A few days later, the previous owner called to see how she was doing. I told her, “She’s doing very well, but she never barks.” The woman said, “Oh, that’s because she’s muted. I have all my dogs muted.” My daughter, who paid for half of her cost, was angry and wanted me to take her back which I had no intention of doing. “Mary,” I said, “you paid for half and your half of Maggie is the back half. My half is the front and I don’t care if it barks.” Actually, she does bark and can be quite vocal, but it’s not a loud shrill bark.
Maggie enjoys my two ponies.

Maggie may not be a rescue dog in the way most people think of a rescue dog, but to me she is. She was rescued from being kept in a kennel and turned into a breeding machine. She has become a house dog, she learned she can jump up on logs in the woods on our walks and she is free to explore while we’re walking. She can chase squirrels and helps me with barn chores by barking at the ponies and telling them it’s time to come in. And best of all, she doesn’t have to share her person with multiple other dogs in small increments of time. Over the years she has  become friendlier with strangers who come wagging her tail in greeting those who show up. She’s even friendlier with those she recognizes.

I hadn’t had her long when Maggie brought me a present. She dropped the rolled up parcel at my feet and gave me her happy collie grin waiting for a reward for her gift. It was my great-grandson’s dirty diaper. My daughter-in-law had been babysitting with him the day before. So in my mystery mind always looking for plots, a dog bringing a clue pertaining to some crime is good. It’s not only been done in mysteries, but happens in real life. A few years ago a dog in an area in the next county started bringing home bones. At first the owner thought it was from a deer. He lives near a wooded area. It turned out they were human bones from a homicide.
Maggie & Henny Penny aare good friends.

Maggie is a sweet girl who has only growled once in the six years I’ve had her now. She gets along well with my two tabby cats, and her latest friend is a little hen given to me a year ago who escaped from the chicken coop because my four old hens picked on her. It’s so cute to see them follow each other around and even take naps close to each other.

Maggie and me in my library

If you’re a writer, do you include pets in your mysteries?

Do you like to read mysteries with pets in them or doesn’t it matter?


Jim Jackson said...

Seamus McCree fans will be delighted to know that Paddy’s family has acquired a Golden Retriever, which we first meet in my current WIP, Empty Promises. She digs up a bone, but doesn’t get to keep it when it turns out to be human.

~ Jim

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

My two standard poodles appear in many of my Jericho stories.

Anonymous said...

It was wonderful to see Molly as a puppy! She was such a sweetie. When I house sit for you I call myself the "stepmom" and I call Maggie "Maggie May." She doesn't care what I call her as long as I give her treats. I also love it when you and I are visiting and she starts barking. No, it is not shrill but she makes it well known that she wants involved in our conversation. LOL Using animals to bring clues is a great idea... a dirty diaper... not so much. LOL Laura

Grace Topping said...

We don't have pets, but we do a lot of dog sitting for our two grand dogs. Fun to have them, but glad when they go home.

With the popularity of mystery books with pets, I decided to have my main character own a cat. He plays a very minor role. I decided on a cat because I didn't want readers writing to me asking how my character could go off and leave her dog for so many hours.

When I attended Malice this year, one of the attendees asked me about my manuscript (unpublished) and if I had any pets in it. When I said yes, she nodded vigorously. If I had said no, I probably would have lost a future reader.

KM Rockwood said...

Dogs are an important part of my life, and I include them in my writing. We just los our labradoodle Hamish, named after the character Hamish McBeth, and now have only one dog, Vinny, a true American mutt who came from a program in the Zanesville, Ohio, prison programs.

One of my first short stories (SF) included a demon dog named Lucy who was sent to study human behavior and ended up living with a homeless vet under a bridge.

I've introduced an ugly little dog named Snaggletooth (he would be a candidate for Ugliest Dog if he weren't fictional) in my Jesse Damon crime novel series.

And I've written a few short stories from the 1st person POV of a dog.

Kathleen Kaska said...

In my Sydney Lockhart mysteries, Sydney owns a sweet standard poodle named Monroe and an ornery cat named Mealworm.
My new mystery, Run Dog Run, the first in my animal-rights series, is centered around the world of greyhound racing. A portion of the book proceeds will be donated to The Greyhound Project.