The Deadly Dog Show
The Deadly Dog Show
by Jerold Last
(Roger and Suzanne South American Mystery Series Book 6)
Print Length: 252 pages
Publisher: Amazon (July 19, 2013)
The sixth book in the popular Roger and Suzanne mystery series finds Roger and Bruce hired to go undercover impersonating the owner and handler of a Champion German Shorthaired Pointer named Juliet to investigate certain irregularities that might be occurring at dog shows in California. To complicate this case the bodies of dead judges start popping up and Suzanne picks up a mysterious stalker sending her most unwelcome gifts. Throw in drug cartels and corrupt cops and it sounds like a typical job for our detective couple.The Deadly Dog Show can be read as a stand-alone novel.
About This Author
The author is a Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of California’s Medical School at Davis, near Sacramento in Northern California. Jerry writes mystery stories that follow the cozy conventions of no graphic sex and no cussing but feature tougher protagonists and darker worlds than most cozies. Jerry knows the real world of dog shows from his own experience and that of his wife, Elaine, who breeds and shows prize-winning German Shorthair Pointer dogs. The cover photo is the author’s own dog Jolie (Grand Champion V. D. Nacht’s Classic Beaujolais, SH). Elaine provided technical advice for The Deadly Dog Show and editing for all of his books.
Author LinksBlog: http://www.rogerandsuzannemysteries.blogspot.com
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jerold-A.-Last/e/B0028EKOIY/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_1
Twitter: @Jerold Last
A FEW PEARLS OF DOGGY WISDOM
My novel being promoted today is “The Deadly Dog Show”, a suspenseful whodunit mystery set in the hypercompetitive world of canine conformation contests, a world my wife and I are very familiar with. In fact, the cover photo for “The Deadly Dog Show” shows our own Jolie (aka Grand Champion Von Der Nacht’s Grand Cru Beaujolais) at a large local dog show here in Northern California several years ago at the height of her career as a show dog. The novel adheres to the “cozy” conventions of no cussing and no gratuitous or explicit sex. There is some violence and a darker world than you might expect to find in many typical cozy mysteries.
As I sit at my desk about 25 feet away from nine six-week-old puppies (Thank you, Jolie), it seems natural to reflect on our family's relationship to dogs. My wife Elaine has been breeding German Shorthaired Pointers (GSPs) for a long time, most of her adult life. Her first GSP was the loveable, but not particularly well coordinated, Jake (aka Lufkin’s Jaunty Jake as registered with the American Kennel Club). Jake was influential in getting us together, as described later in this post. Jake also sired Fliegen, who began a 12-generation long lineage that established Elaine as a well-known breeder of successful GSP show dogs here in the western United States. For today, we will discuss the possibility that Jake might have influenced the purchase of the real Pearl and the development of the fictitious Pearl in the Spenser series of mystery novels written by one of my favorite authors, Robert B. Parker.
In a land long ago and far away (I always wanted to use that cliche from Star Wars in writing, somewhere), Elaine lived in the Boston suburbs. She walked Jake in many places, including the Boston Commons. A few of those times Robert B. Parker, who lived and taught in Boston, came by The Boston Commons to admire her dog and got to know Jake in all his lovable goofiness. Over his illustrious career as a mystery writer, which started just about that time with The Godwulf Manuscript (published in 1973, the year I moved to Cambridge), Parker owned several generations of GSPs named Pearl, who occupied a lot of his book jacket photos with him. In all of the Spenser books that followed the first one, beginning, I believe, with book #2 in the series, "God Save the Child", Spenser had a girlfriend Susan Silverman, initially a school guidance counselor. Susan morphed into a Ph.D. (from Harvard, no less) clinical psychologist in book #10, "Valediction". Susan eventually acquired a GSP named Pearl in, I think, the 19th book, "Pastime". Her dog, whose name was changed from "Vigilant Virgin" to Pearl on page 4 of Pastime, looked a lot like Parker’s real Pearl, a solid liver-colored GSP (unlike Jake, whose body was white with dark ticking and had a solid liver colored head). Parker’s movie production company, which made theatrical films and TV shows based upon his books, was named “Pearl Productions”. Did Elaine and Jake influence Parker’s subsequent choices of Pearl #1-3? I’d like to think so.
Our sons grew up with a lot of Jake stories. When I met Elaine she was living in Cambridge, across the Charles River from Boston, and I was in the process of moving there. Jake actually got us together the first time by losing a dog fight to a Labrador retriever over who was going to retrieve the Labrador’s tennis ball from the reflecting pond in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. I was walking by (I lived there then, Elaine and Jake were visiting) in time to offer a box of Kleenex to staunch the flow of blood from Jake’s ear. By the time we got to my car for the Kleenex the flow of blood had ceased, I got to meet a cute young woman who fortuitously became the first person I knew who lived in Cambridge, and we had a story to tell about how Jake brought us together.
We lived in an old house that had been broken up into apartments a few blocks away from Harvard Yard. Every morning Jake was taken for a walk to Harvard Yard where he could safely be let off-leash to run around chasing squirrels and absorbing the culture. His morning ritual, from which he never deviated, was to celebrate freedom as the leash was removed by running as fast as he could to the statue of John Harvard, the founder of the University several hundred years ago, that occupied Pride of Place in the center of the broad Quad that was Harvard Yard. The polite term for his next action was he “marked” the statue; for those not in the know with respect to doggie behaviors, he urinated over John Harvard’s legs and shoes. Every day for several years! For the egalitarians reading this, it’s OK to cheer at the symbolism.
In the first paragraph I referred to Jake's lack of coordination. In a breed known for its grace and athletic ability Jake was a super-klutz. The problem of his innate klutziness was dramatized when we acquired his son Fliegen at 7 weeks of age as our second GSP. All of Jake's klutz genes were obviously recessive since Fliegen was poetry in motion pretty much from the day he joined our family. Jake was the dog that would run on snow and ice, get out of control, and skid into a tree. One of his nicknames was "George of the Jungle", named for a TV cartoon character whose theme song advised him to "Watch out for that tree!" In the same situation (same snow, same ice), Fliegen would do a graceful mid-course correction and slide right past the tree. Another of Jake's nicknames was "The Boston Bleeder" in celebration of the inevitable outcome of the very few fights with other dogs he got into.
But for lovability, loyalty, and willingness to protect Elaine no matter what, Jake is still the standard we compare all of our other GSPs to.