Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rescued Dog Becomes Heroine in a Mystery Novel

This is a scene from A Colourful Death, my second Cornish mystery. I gave my protagonist, Eleanor Trewynn, a West Highland terrier in memory of my mother's last dog, Candy. Candy, as with all my mother's dogs, had been rescued by someone who couldn't give her a home. My mother always said, "Oh, I can't manage with a dog at present, but I'll keep her till you find someone to take her." Famous last words--they always stayed with her for life.

Eleanor's Westie, Teazle, is with her when she and Nick find a body and are "invited" by the local sergeant to step along to the police station. Where, after several hours waiting for the detectives to arrive...

Teazle whined and went to the door.

"Sergeant, the dog needs to go out."

"Now?" Roscoe had just thumped down from his stool and was lumbering around the counter. "Just when the brass have arrived?"

"Yes, now. She's been terribly good but you can't expect her to hold on forever."

"Not now!"

"Well, if you want to risk a puddle—"

"All right, all right, take her out. Under proper control," he added sternly.

Eleanor couldn't find the length of string. She searched her pockets and her handbag with increasing urgency as Teazle's whine took on increasing desperation.

Nick, returning, took in the scene at a glance. "The string's still attached to her collar, Eleanor. Here."

As he stooped to pick up the end and hand it to her, she whispered, "Nick, for pity's sake don't argue or play the fool with the detectives."

"Don't worry, I won't. It's hard to resist taking the mickey, but I'll behave myself."

The sergeant reached them just in time to hear his last words. "You'd better, Nick," he warned. "You're in big trouble, and these blokes don't mess about."

Nick opened his mouth, caught Eleanor's eye, and closed it again.

"Here you go, madam." Roscoe opened the door.

Teazle shot out, and Eleanor lost the end of the string.

The pavement, the Westie had been taught, was not a suitable place for relieving oneself. From a patch of lawn diagonally across the street, the sweet scent of greenery reached her quivering nostrils. She had also been taught to cross streets with caution, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Circling the group of detectives, she dashed between the grey saloon and the rear police car with Eleanor in hot pursuit.

"Stop!" someone shouted. Heavy footsteps pounded after her.

As soon as Teazle felt grass beneath her paws, she squatted. Half a dozen large policemen found themselves surrounding a small white dog and a small white-haired old lady.

The tall, thin, balding man stepped into the circle. "What's going on here?" he demanded.

Eleanor had had enough. Irritably she cut through a babble of bass voices explaining that they had taken her for a murderer on the run.

"My dog is answering a call of nature. These gentlemen seem to be extraordinarily interested in her bodily functions."

Many thanks to Carola Dunn for contributing.  You can visit her website at to learn more about all her wonderful mystery novels.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful! A Colourful Death is definitely on my list. Much success, Carola, with your new book!

    Madeline (M.M.)Gornell