Please welcome honored guest and debut author Janet Finsilver! Janet and her husband reside in the San Francisco Bay Area. She worked in education for many years as a teacher, a program administrator, and a workshop presenter. Janet loves animals and has two dogs—Kylie and Ellie. She’s been involved in many activities during her life. Janet has ridden western style since she was a child and was a member of the National Ski Patrol. She’s traveled extensively. One of the highlights of her life was touching whales in the San Ignacio Lagoon.
She enjoys cooking, and a recent attempt to reduce the number of cookbooks in the cupboard wasn’t very successful. Janet is also an avid reader—of course!
For more about Janet and her books, check out her website - http://janetfinsilver.com
Being an ardent animal lover, I was happy to oblige when Ann Parker asked me to write a guest post about dogs and cats in mystery fiction. I’ve had cats in my life. However, at the moment I’m a dog person with Ellie, a coonhound mix who sings the blues, and a young Rhodesian ridgeback. With my dogs next to me (and offering unasked-for advice), I’m going to talk about murder and man’s best friend. These loveable animals often leap off the pages and into our hearts as they bound, stroll, and cuddle their way through the lives of the characters they interact with.
When I first thought about what to write, interestingly enough Nick and Nora’s Asta from the Thin Man came to mind, as it did for Mike. The perky terrier accompanied the pair during many adventures. Then I thought of the Chet and Bernie series that brings a whole new angle as canine Chet narrates the story and helps P.I. Bernie through his challenges. These are only a couple of examples. A visit to the bookstore will show dogs sitting, trotting, and running across many covers.
Several years ago I read about a group that was training dogs to detect cancer. I became intrigued and decided to learn more about how dogs contribute to the quality of our lives. Most people are familiar with Guide Dogs for the Blind. However, dogs now are trained to help diabetics, calm veterans with PTSD, warn people of impending seizures, and serve as forensic dogs (finding cadavers often many years old). There are many more roles they function in to assist us in having better lives.
I decided I’d have dogs with special abilities in my mystery series. In my debut mystery, Murder at Redwood Cove, which releases this month, a basset hound named Fred makes his appearance. Trained to detect cancer, Fred didn’t pass his test and now is a young boy’s best friend.
The second book in the series, Murder at the Mansion, introduces Jack and Jill, two rescued beagles with blue and pink collars respectively, that travel in a motorhome with their owner. The side of the vehicle is emblazoned with larger-than-life size pictures of the two dogs. The slogan next to them reads, “Bedbugs? Termites? If you’ve got ’em, they’ll find ’em. Call on Jack and Jill. Get the four-legged pros on the job and have a restful sleep tonight.” They extend their abilities to discovering dry rot during the course of the book.
Princess, a feisty Chihuahua and a retired hearing assistance dog, enters the scene in book three. Don’t be fooled by her size or the jeweled collar she wears. She’s small but mighty. I based her on a neighborhood dog I saw attacking a boot larger than she was worn by a Goliath of a man. Luckily, he just laughed as she tried to kill his footwear.
Whether for companionship, assistance in solving a crime, or to save the day, it’s always a pleasure to have our four-legged companions next to us.