Thursday, January 29, 2009

Animals in mystery stories

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I've tried to decide whether I like to write about animals or about people who like animals.

We've had some interesting animals in our lives, two dogs and, over the years, five different cats. Right now, we have one cat.

Animals often end up in my stories because of the animals in my life.

In The Body in the Record Room, the cow herd chases Roy and Harry. That comes from a true story when my friend Jim and I were "out and around," as I say. I don't know where we'd been, perhaps back in the area of the hospital cemetery or perhaps farther north. Farther north there was small creek or river. I swam in that a time or two, though my parents would have had a hissy fit if they had known.

Anyway, we were coming back from somewhere, walking across the cow pasture when Jim's dog, a Boston Bulldog is what I think they call those little black and white bulldogs, started barking at the cow herd. The dog's name was Ricky. Actually it was Jim Ricky Flash. Anyway the cows came after Ricky and Ricky came to us. So we were in trouble.

In the second Roy Rogers story, The Body on the Hospital Landing, there is a character, an older lady who takes the feral cats Harry collects at the hospital and finds them a home. The idea for that character came from a wonderful lady I knew who did pick up stray cats and try to find them homes. This was in a small town with no animal shelter. She housed her found cats with the vet. She put advertisements in the newspaper recruiting people to take the cats. One of our own animals came from her.

She took pictures of her cats, and asked you questions before she would let you take an animal. "Will you spay or neuter it? Will you keep it inside? Will you take it to the veterinarian regularly? Will you let me call once in a while check on it?"

Finally, this woman ended up in a nursing home. When I would go to visit her, she would be looking at the pictures of the no-telling-how-many cats she had rescued over the years.

This post has a picture of Angel, the cat we got from this good lady. Angel died of breast cancer a couple years ago. We don't know how old she was (maybe seventeen or older) because the vet couldn't tell us how old she was when we got her.

Some people make a big difference in this world just by doing "little" things.

I've been trying to think of mystery stories which have animals as main characters. Right now, I can't do that. If you can remember mysteries with animals as main characters, leave a comment or go to my web site and write me an email. I'd love to have some help in trying to remember.

If you would like to respond to this post, please leave a comment or go to my web site where there is an email address. Thanks.


Barbara Trombley said...
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Joe Barone said...

It was great to hear from you. Congratulations on the book! I plan to look your book up. Thanks for checking in. --Joe.

Joe Barone said...

Here's a comment I received from Barbara Trombley.

I am happy to note that someone else loves everything about animals , as do I. recently i have had a mystery novel published by Eloquent books which prominently features a Yorkshire terrier named Signor Poochini. He has become my fictionalized friend, but he mirrors the qualities of my real-life yorkie naled dandy Dancer. my book is called A MUTED MELODY.My nsme is barbara E. trombley. My blog link is

Corey Wilde said...

I don't usually read mysteries in which animals are the main characters but I made an exception for 'Three Bags Full' by Leonie Swann, a book in which sheep are the detectives. I thought it was charming, hilarious in places, and managed to be quite touching at times.

Joe Barone said...

I loved Three Bags Full. Who would have ever thought of writing a book from the point of view of sheep. I picked it up just because it was so odd.