Let’s Talk with Maggie Toussaint

Pets in mysteries
By Maggie Toussaint

Dog lovers and cat lovers vie for supremacy. Each group thinks their pets are cuter, smarter, and more entertaining. I’ve been owned by both dogs and cats, and I must confess I’m more of a dog person.

For that reason, I have dogs in just about every book I write. A black lab named Bailey stars in my novella, Really, Truly Dead. Her tug-the-leash-out-of-your-hand antics were inspired by one of our dogs who moved like a linebacker when it suited him. Our Zak really put his shoulders and legs into it when he decided to go in a different direction. If you let down your guard for a second, he’d bolt one way or the other just because he could.

For this reason, our dog spent a lot of time in our fenced yard, off-leash. It was either that or dislocated shoulders – for the humans!

In Really, Truly Dead, Bailey the dog can’t help following her nose. The first thing she gets nosy about is the judge murdered in the park causing my sleuth, Lindsey McKay, a lot of heartache and trouble.

Do you prefer mysteries with pets? What’s your favorite pet name? One lucky commenter will win a copy of Really, Truly Dead.

Also, don’t forget our monthly contest for a $25 gift card. The contest runs March 1-18. Enter by clicking here

Comments

  1. Thank you, everyone, for your wonderful comments. The winner of a digital copy of Really, Truly Dead is Jeannie D. Congratulations!
    (random.org selected my winner)

  2. Taryn Lee says:

    I enjoy the addition of a pet and love both cats and dogs. We had both when I was growing up. If I had to choose between the two though I would pick a cat first. I have a thing for black cats. Chester, Kenny, Diesel, and Simi are all cats that I have had throughout the years and are favored names. Chester was black and white, the other three were black.

    • Hi Taryn, I’ve noticed that people often get the same color or breed of pet throughout time. When our black lab passed, we started over with a black lab puppy. I’m happy that your love of animals brings you such comfort! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I’m a dog person myself, especially cute little cuddly breeds. A pet often acts as a secondary character in a series.

    • I like the way you think, Nancy. Dogs are people too, and fictional dogs can be even more “personalized,” though I suspect many dogs are already much nicer than some people!

  4. Cathie Willson-Bogert says:

    I’ve had dogs and cats. Love both, but definitely prefer cats. They melt like puddles in your arms💜🐈💜

  5. Jeannie D. says:

    I have cats now. My Maine coon, and I also care for three feral, free roaming cats that are in our neighborhood. In the past I I have had both dogs and cats. I love all animals, I even feed squirrels on purpose😊 I just like to have animals in a mystery, any animal, I think it makes the characters seem more like real people.

    • HI Jeannie! You have such a kind heart. A friend of mine also had a Maine coon cat and I think they are the coolest things ever. You’re more generous than I am about the squirrels. Fortunately for our squirrels, our birds have birdbrains and slippery beaks, so no squirrels starve around here!

  6. Cat fan over here. I’ve been adopted by both cats and dogs, but I prefer the less mess less fuss of cats on account of long hours at the day job. Animals can add dimension to characters in books, show their softer side or their animal personality. I’m pro pets in books!

    • I’ve found cats to be highly entertaining, Karla. But ours also came with plenty of quirks. Dogs, ah, just even typing the word dogs, it makes me sigh with happiness. I love pets in mysteries myself! Thanks for weighing in.

  7. Terri Rinko says:

    I love mysteries with pets–my favorite pet name is Mae. Thanks so much!

    • Hi Terri! Thanks for coming over to hang out with me. I’m very fond of the name Mae as well. My grandmother-in-law was named May but she changed her spelling to Mae, much to the chagrin of her father. Decades later, I now own the locket with her name on it. Serendipity!

  8. I love including animals in my books – mostly dogs. My challenge, since I haven’t written one as a prominent character, is to remember to include them often enough. I end up with sticky notes saying “CHARLIE” on my computer.

    And, on that note, when people include pets, I want to make sure they’re well cared for. I just started a book last night when the character was called away and she told her dog he’d have to wait for her to get back before he could go out. (I hope that character comes home to a huge mess!)

    • And I forgot to mention – when we adopted our dog, her name was Phoebe. We didn’t want to subject her to any more confusing changes, but we changed the spelling to Feebie because it’s short for our name for her — FBI Special Agent in Charge.

      • Hi Terry, First I love that you kept Phoebe’s name. I know she doesn’t care how you spell it! And like you, I get worried about pets in dogs when they disappear from the scenes. Where’d they go? Who’s taking care of the dog? I came up with the ultimate dog in my Dreamwalker series – a ghost dog – so no feeding or caring needed. Oliver is very handy for tracking bad guys though.

  9. I love mysteries with pets. Grew up with The Cat Who series. And my favorite kitty name is Sheba.

    • Hi Jessie! I am so happy you love mysteries with pets, and Lilian Jackson Braun is an awesome author. Your fav pet name made me smile. Hope you’re having a great day.

  10. jmjackson054 says:

    Perfect timing for this, Maggie. I moderate a panel at Left Coast Crime next week on animals (pets and wild ones) in mysteries with five excellent panelists. I’m taking notes.

    • HI Jim. I know you will have a fab time at that conference. Hawaii is awesome, and I have fond memories of our trip there light years ago. In my books (and in the books I enjoy reading), I get anxious when a pet is in danger. I like pets as trusty sidekicks, as warnings of something being wrong, and as character foils. People have all sorts of pets in the south. It’s not uncommon for folks to have pet raccoons, lizards, ducks, hawks, owls, gators, possums, frogs, squirrels, and more, along with the more standard variety pets.