Saturday, September 10, 2011

Celebrating Mysteries: The Lure of Das Wienerschnitzel

September is Responsible Dog Ownership Month, and this week Celebrating Mysteries continues with a feature on three authors whose main characters all have the same breed of dog-- Dachshunds-- near and dear to their hearts. The name of the breed means "badger dog" which tells you what the dogs were born to do: flush out badgers and other burrow-dwelling animals. Today many of them seem to have burrowed their way into their owners' hearts instead!

Rita Mae Brown
Looking into the life of Rita Mae Brown, I found two quotes that told me a lot about her as a person:

"I can never understand how authors can write books without having animals become important characters. We share the earth with other sentient creatures and they often do a better job of living full lives than we do. One woman’s opinion but I like the chatter of all living creatures."
"You can hurt me. You can hate me, but do it because you know me, not because I’m a member of a group. Anyways, people aren’t grapes --- you can’t weigh them in a bunch, but I guess it’s easier than dealing with people as individuals. There, I’ve solved the riddle of prejudice: it saves time."
Rita Mae has recently begun writing a series about Mags Rogers, a former Wall Street banker moving from New York City with her dachshund Baxter, to her great aunt Jeep Reed's Wings Ranch near Reno, Nevada. The two books published so far are: A Nose for Justice (2010) and Murder Unleashed (due out October, 2011).

Booklist says this about A Nose for Justice:

Mags (for Magdalena) has left New York City, where the financial meltdown caused her to lose her banking job, and has moved to her great-aunt Jeep’s ranch in Nevada, not too far away from Reno. She has brought her wirehaired dachshund Baxter, who has to get along with Jeep’s German shepherd–mix King. The two women and their dogs first get drawn into the conflict between Jeep’s rural neighbors and Silver State Resource Management, a corporation that wants to control all the water rights in the area. They (women and dogs) investigate when SSRM pumps explode in what amounts to domestic terrorism, and then an SSRM executive disappears. This is the first in a new mystery series featuring Baxter and King and their humans; Brown narrates a good portion of the novel from the dogs’ point of view. The crime plot plays out at a leisurely pace, but the conflict over water rights is just as compelling as the mystery, making this a satisfying read not only for genre fans but also for anyone who cares about the environment.

Tom Lowe and friend
Tom Lowe loves history and the sea, and at one time he lived on a boat. He's written a series featuring Sean O'Brien, a recently widowed former Miami homicide detective, who lives with his dachshund Max on the St. John's River in Florida.

There are two books in the series so far: A False Dawn (2009) and The 24th Letter (2010).

Booklist says this about A False Dawn:

Sean O’Brien’s lifestyle seems at first glance to be the envy of us all. Though barely on the shady side of 40, he has a riverfront cabin home on one of Florida’s signature wilderness waterways, the Saint John’s River. He is also proud possessor of a cabin cruiser birthed practically in the shadow of Ponce Inlet lighthouse. And if that isn’t enough, he has chick-magnet charisma, but he prefers as a companion a gator-bait dachshund by the name of Max. O’Brien is not a moneyed ne’er-do-well. He is instead a widower, a “retired” Miami homicide detective, and, according to Volusia County sheriff’s investigator, he’s a good prospect to take the fall for a string of sex murders, a situation that forces him back to crime solving. 

Mary Jane Maffini, Daisy and Lily
If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you've already made the acquaintance of self-professed "lapsed librarian" Mary Jane Maffini. I've been enjoying her series about professional organizer Charlotte Adams, who's the owner of two rescued dachshunds, Truffle and Sweet Marie (who bear a remarkable resemblance to Mary Jane's own dogs).

There are currently five books in the series, and the first three are: Organize Your Corpses (2007), The Cluttered Corpse (2008) and Death Loves a Messy Desk (2009).

Here's a brief synopsis of Organize Your Corpses:

When Charlotte Adams agrees to help Emmy Lou Rheinbeck organize her stuffed animal collection, she never imagines she'll find herself fending off pranksters whose shenanigans lead to murder.

Look for my review of the third book in this series next week right here on Kittling: Books!

I know these winsome little charmers have probably stolen your hearts, and you're busily gathering up all the books about them, but don't forget that Celebrating Mysteries "With a Bite" continues next weekend. See you then!


  1. I stopped reading Rita Mae Brown years ago but don't recall why. I know it wasn't prejudice; I could care less about that. Time I tried her books again. I've been intrigued by the organizer series as well. The guy who has lived on a book has me green with envy. We tried to buy an old ChrisCraft yacht years ago but couldn't get a loan on it. We could, however, get a mortgage for a house that cost more than twice as much! Go figure. We've been dreaming about the "Hope" ever since.

  2. Barbara-- I enjoyed the first book in Brown's series about the Master of Hounds in Virginia. I've got to get back to it.

  3. I didn't know that Rita Mae Brown wrote about dogs too. I'll have to look her books up. Maffini has been a favorite of mine but I haven't yet read her new books.

    Interestingly, I've just finished a review of another dog mystery, Brute Strength by Susan Conant, who owns and shows Alaskan malamutes!

  4. I like mysteries with animals in them, but only when they are treated as animals and not Disney characters.

  5. Harvee-- I didn't know she wrote about dogs either until I did some research for this post!

    Dorte-- Yes... definitely no spelling h-e-l-p in the mashed potatoes for me either!


Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!