Monday, January 31, 2011

Good Dog

Cozy mysteries tend to have certain characteristics. Despite the fact that the point of the story is to find out who killed who and why, violence typically occurs off-screen. So does sex, if there’s any mention of it at all. They feature an amateur sleuth rather than a professional investigator, and often occur in small towns.

Characters seem to drink a lot of tea. And cats frequently populate the pages.

In Something Borrowed, Something Bleu, Sophie Mae’s parents have an Abyssinian cat. He sheds on her pillow, steals her lunch, barfs by her bed and drops a live vole on her bare foot.

Rather than offering a cute-and-cozy feline, my books really feature a Pembroke Welsh corgi named Brodie who belongs to Meghan’s daughter. Grey-muzzled and a little creaky with age, he waddles in and out of scenes, offering canine commentary in the form of woofs and groans and whines. He guards, he protects, and he begs for food on a regular basis.

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Unlike my human characters, none of whom are based on real people (though I’ve borrowed a characteristic here and there, I suppose), my animal characters are based on real animals. The chickens in the backyard reflect the chickens I used to have in my backyard. The Abyssinian cat is named after a cat I knew (in my experience you don’t actually own cats). And Brodie is based on a corgi named Watson. 

And yes, Watson turns out to be Sophie Mae’s maiden name. The pup came first.

Last week Watson went to the proverbial happy hunting ground. For him it’s probably a herding ground, though, since that’s what corgis do. I hadn’t seen him for a while, though my ex kindly brought him to a signing in Seattle a couple years ago. The little dog was deaf, and his eyes were cloudy even then, but his tailless butt wiggled a welcome, and he greeted me with his old familiar grin.

He was a happy little guy, friendly, devoted and eager to please. He lived a good, long life – sixteen years – and was very much loved.

He was a good dog. And he will be sorely missed.


  1. So sorry to hear about Watson. It's hard to lost a four-legged family member.

    Thoughts in Progress

  2. Oh, I'm so sorry. But how wonderful that Watson aka Brodie lives on in your writing! What a great tribute to a four-legged friend.

  3. Thanks everyone. I expect writing about Brodie will feel different now, but Watson had a pretty fabulous life and you can't wish for more than that.