Not dogs sitting on keyboards (something my terrier loves doing), but pets within storylines of crime fiction.
I think they can add something. Someone (whose opinion I value highly) suggested it to me, and well--I tried it and I love it.
I think it adds to the characterizations. What do you guys think?
Those writers and readers--does it add to your enjoyment?
I'm not actually referring to furry protagonists who solve crime--sheep detectives and the like, I'm referring to storylines with a cast of human beings, one of whom has a pet or two.
And while we're at it, can you give me some examples of novels you've liked or haven't liked, wherein Rover or Snooky the cat is seen to be looking casually at crimescene photos or gratefully licking up a bowl of milk the crime-solving Detective has put down for her?

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I have animals that share in my own life so I identify with protagonists who have pets as well. But, like you I can't get into pets helping to solve crimes.
I seriously think my Scottie, MacDuff would watch a thief clean my place out thinking, "Go on Bud, at least it isn't my crap you're taking!" Of course, if I was home he probably try and defend me by trying to remove a bad guy's ankle-bone! He's pretty ferocious for a dog who could be in danger of being drop-kicked!
Great reply!
MacDuff! is that wonderful or whatt? great name for a Scottie.
I have two terriers, Penny--would try to tackle anything, Mike Tyson, King Kong--whatever. But Indiana Jones is a lover, not a fighter and he'd probably try to run away! He flees if someone shouts! I kid you not, he ran home from a walk (some distance)! because there was a "raised voice" in the area!
Love that Go, Bud it isn't my stuff...! You have to feature MacDuff in a story! fabulous.
Terriers are my favorite animals. They are so spunky and have such charming personalities.
One time, before I had to relocate my cat because the two Scotties and the Chessie thought he was a badger that must be destroyed, I had let him in with me and MacDuff. Duffer is the one who listens the best and Tybalt (the Chessie) was in the bedroom with the hubby and Cameron (the other Scottie) was in with my mom. I actually believed I had negotiated a truce and I was working on a story for Flashing In The Gutters, sipping a couple of fingers of scotch. Duffer was fine, until Leonato jumped down from a table . Duffer snapped and lunged and Leonato leaped on the desk and landed a foot squarely in the middle of my Macallan's, than ran hell for leather for the spare room, trailing paw prints of scotch across the furniture in the living room with MacDuff on his heels. Probably the only time you'd ever see me laughing as I poured Macallan's down the drain!

What a crew. I sure miss that cat, but he's in a home where he is king and not having his life threatened by a pack of feline killers.
LOVED that!
Thanks! So vivid. You had me chuckling.
Yes, as long as he's king now. That's what counts but you do miss them.
Our dogs had puppies last summer and I was told one of them
VERY happily living on a farm just became a DAd (10 mos)! I miss him and the other (four) so much, so i know what you mean.
Same about the scotch footprints. We just finished decorating the living room (wall paper I loved) notice the tense?!
The Grandfather, Indiana, who is still under two has already destroyed one spot. Next to the door that he destroyed as a puppy, talk about claw marks) We thought he was too adult now, but noooo!
I had a cat I adored and had it adopted when I left the States to marry (badly as it turned out)! first marriage.
Sometimes I wonder if Mimi (my beautiful cat) wished it on me!
Rats, because I write talking animal stories.
ooh never saw your reply!
there's a place for everything.
I think some of us are just focusing on crime novels that tend to be more serious.
But hey! I love a light hearted talking animal story, why not!
you go, girl!
I would, but my cop is better off with a cat--he's rarely home.
Maybe there's room for a wonderful Jack Russell somewhere else!
Me too! I found an English mainstream novelist, Mary Wesley, whose writing I really enjoyed until I realised I'd read three in a row in which she killed a dog, one way or another. That was the end as far as I was concerned.

I'm a dog person. I didn't add a dog to my Daisy Dalrymple series until the seventh book, when Daisy persuades her fiance, DCI Alec Fletcher, to let his daughter adopt a mongrel puppy (who is promptly sick in the car). She doesn't appear in all the books, but in Mistletoe and Murder, she finds an important clue, and in my upcoming Black Ship she finds the body. For some reason St Martin's art dept decided to put her on the cover, rather than the black ship.-- So, back to the covers discussion...
Love your Daisy lady, btw!
Yes, me too. Dog person but hugely!
I would throw a fit if I read about a dog dying. It would not only put me off the book, but I'd have to go and lie down! And I mean that!
That's terrific Carola, a doggie finding a clue! hmm. going to mull that over.
Good luck with your book cover discussion!
and thanks for your reply.
Interesting! Here's a cat with a very subtle sort of impact. It's sophisticated writing--low key but highly effective.
I like that cat and the way the novel sounds. Will have to check that out.
Thanks Naomi!
Hi. I love novels that have pets in them, particularly dogs. I have a Silky terrier in my own life, Buster, whom I adore. Fellow NW MWA member Kat Richardson writes Urban Fantasy Mystery Novels in which the main character has a pet ferret. Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum has her hamster, Rex. (I think that's his name.) I don't read much commercial Romance, but I read one just because there were two Yorkies on the cover. I started reading Carol Lea Benjamin's mystery novels because they feature dogs. Pat Harrington, another NW MWA member, writes mysteries where the main character has a dog, also. I'm writing one, myself.

Since pets add such a postive dimension to the lives of animal lovers, I think it automatically lends the author a positive first impression if a particular animal that someone loves is on the cover. I read a year ago that you can increase your book sales about 40% (if I am recalling correctly) if there is a cat on the cover; less if there is another type of animal. The point is: supposedly, animals on the cover can increase your sales. I don't know if anyone out there has heard anything to the contrary.

However, a caveat: My friend says she will never read a book by an author again if there is an cat on the cover and the cat does not have a high profile in the book. If she sees a cat on the cover, she expects the cat to be one of the characters (not necessarily talking). If the cat just happens to be peripheral, such as just jumping off of the bookcase in the shop but not really a part of the story, she is upset, feeling that the cover was misleading.

Although dogs are my favorite animals, my favorite pet novel ever is Sea Biscuit. I think it's not only one of the best animal books I've ever read, but one of the best written nonfiction books I've ever read. Laura Hillenbrand wrote an exciting and well-paced book. If you haven't read it, I really recommend it (although it is not, obviously, a mystery/crime novel).

Lastly, I was at the 2007 Left Coast Crime Conference here in Seattle. Several of the panelists mentioned that it was not a good idea to kill an animal (or a small child) in your novels: most readers don't like it. Of course, that is their opinion, but I don't like reading books where animals or kids are killed, particularly tortured. Any animal cruelty and I won't read another book by that author. But, then, I don't like reading any novel where the author appears to enjoy depicting any sort of sadism.


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