posted on June 14, 2013 by Linda O. Johnston

Mysteries and Messages

NonstopSpaniels.inddThanks yet again to Writerspace for inviting me to blog.  I was here just a few weeks ago discussing, among other things, the reprinting of my third Pet Rescue Mystery HOUNDS ABOUND with a special seal on it as part of Penguin Group (USA)’s Read Humane program.  And now I’m here because of my first mystery novella to be published as an e-book by Berkley Prime Crime, NONSTOP SPANIELS, which is also a Pet Rescue Mystery.

Do cozy mysteries like mine contain a message?  Sure.  In all of them, it’s don’t mess with the friends or relations of an amateur sleuth, or you’re toast!  Why?  Because nearly all cozies are about people with lives outside detecting, with interests ranging from crafts to books, cooking, travel… and, yes, pets.  And more.  And yet those people all manage to find murders occurring practically under their noses.  What’s more, they always figure out whodunit.

Are there other messages?  Perhaps.  My intent in my Pet Rescue Mysteries is not to beat readers over the head with the idea of rescuing needy animals, but if they happen to like the idea, and to not only read but also volunteer or adopt or anything else related to saving pets, then great!  But my real goal is to write an enjoyable story that just happens to center on pet rescue.

I do always have an underlying theme in each of my Pet Rescue Mysteries.  In NONSTOP SPANIELS, it’s NKLA–No Kill Los Angeles, an initiative of Best Friends Animal Society that encourages area shelters not to kill any inhabitants.  BEAGLEMANIA, the first Pet Rescue Mystery, started at a puppy mill rescue.  THE MORE THE TERRIER has a hoarder in it, and HOUNDS ABOUND features a special sanctuary for hard-to-rehome animals such as seniors or the disabled.  OODLES OF POODLES is about the film industry and how it treats pets–which tends to be good, thanks to the American Humane Association’s supervision of filming.  And upcoming is TEACUP TURBULENCE, in which dogs are flown from areas where there are few potential adopters to places where adopters are more prevalent.

NONSTOP SPANIELS was first published on June 4 of this year, which was an excellent time for its no-kill theme since one week later, June 11, was Just One Day, where shelters were requested to pledge that they would kill no animals on that day.  It also results in a lot of adoptions.  According to its Facebook page, the event was a success!

So… messages in mysteries?  Maybe.  But most important is a fun read, a new adventure for my protagonist, dedicated pet rescuer Lauren Vancouver, and a satisfying ending to each of my stories.

Linda O. Johnston

Linda O. Johnston

Linda O. Johnston, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, currently writes two mystery series for Midnight Ink involving dogs: the Barkery and Biscuits Mysteries where the protagonist, a veterinary technician, owns a barkery and a bakery, and the Superstition Mysteries, where her protagonist runs a pet boutique. She has also written the Pet Rescue Mystery Series, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime---also involving dogs. Linda additionally writes for Harlequin. She also writes the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries about shapeshifters---including canines---for Harlequin Nocturne.

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