Here’s a typical day for me: I wake up early, then I awaken everyone else in the house by giving them lots of kisses. Then I make a fuss until someone gives me breakfast, and I go outside to, well…you-know-what. Because according to my person Mel, all the best canines are totally housebroken.
Oops, I guess I should clarify: I’m a dog. In fact, that’s my name: Dog. My people can’t agree on another name, and at this point I just go by Dog because it’s easier.
I probably had a name before, because a long time ago I belonged to someone who abandoned me at a construction site. But I can’t remember that name – I’m not that bright, actually—and I try not to remember my former people, because my new folks are the BEST. I’m no purebred, but every time one of my people hugs my neck and tells me mutts are their favorites, I know I landed in the right—
Wait, is someone opening the fridge?
Okay, I’m back. Sorry. I’m a little hungry.
Anyway…I’ve heard there are cats, and maybe even dogs, who go around solving crimes. I’m not that kind of animal. When it comes to solving crimes, I leave all the figuring-out to my person, Mel Turner –she’s the one who saved me a while ago, when I was starving and hanging around her jobsite. Rescuing me deserves many, many kisses. Mel’s super smart, and she “on the job” – which means she’s in control, and has all the bases covered. Sometimes she takes on a little too much, ‘cause she thinks she can do it all. But usually she manages not only to finish her renovation projects, but also to solve murder mysteries! And then there are the ghosts—
Hey! Is someone making a sandwich?
Sorry. Back again. I get a little distracted. Which brings me to my last point: sometimes Mel finds ghosts behind the walls of the places she’s working on. And this is my strong suit, sort of. Because even if I’m not too smart, I can see them too!
Some of Mel’s friends think she’s a little crazy when she says she can sense spirits –in fact, Mel used to wonder if she was crazy, herself– but at least I can back her up on this: Ghosts are real. For some reason, animals can feel them better than most humans; cats especially, though I hate to admit it. But to tell you the truth, even though Mel and I have uncovered a number of ghosts at her renovation projects, it’s the humans who are the real scary ones. Mel’s been in danger before, and I’m always afraid I might not be there when she needs—
I smell roast chicken!!!
(Could I just say, as an aside, that Mel’s dad – I just call him Dad—is the BEST cook. He’s just…*sigh*…he’s awesome. I heard Mel’s stepson and his friends using that word, and I think it’s perfect for Dad, because he COOKS and OPENS THE FRIDGE and PULLS OUT GOOD THINGS TO EAT!!!)
Okay, I’m back again. I told you, I get a little distracted. By food, mostly. And squirrels. And cats. And food. Wait, I already said that…
Anyway, so most days I ride in the car with Mel (I do get carsick, though, so I take doggie dramamine). We ride around from one jobsite to another to check on jobs, and then go to lumberyards and hardware stores, and the City Hall to check on paperwork.
But when Mel most needs me, of course, is when she thinks she trips over bodies, and sees ghosts, or when people are trying to hurt her. In our latest adventure, MURDER ON THE HOUSE, Mel had to spend the night in a haunted house in the Castro neighborhood in San Francisco in order to win the bid for the project. She brought a couple of human friends with her, but not me. And then someone died, which, as I pointed out, might not have happened at all if she’d kept me with her. Thank heavens Mel wasn’t hurt. But now she has to figure out who did it…plus, there’s a whole family of ghosts in that place, and the new owners want them to stick around to welcome the visitors at their new Bed and Breakfast!
Mel does have a talent for getting herself into messes, as her cute guy Graham keeps telling her. But at least she’s got me, and I do my best to help her out.
Because I might not be too smart, and it’s possible I get a little distracted – is that a can opener I hear?—but when it comes to my people, no matter if we’re up against ghosts or murderers or both, I’m “on the job”.
** Thanks to the publisher, I have one (1) copy of MURDER ON THE HOUSE to give away. Contest open to US residents only and ends December 20. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. **
Meet the author
Juliet Blackwell is the NYT bestselling author of the Haunted Home Renovation mystery series (If Walls Could Talk, Dead Bolt, Murder on the House) and the Witchcraft mystery series (Secondhand Spirits, A Cast-off Coven, Hexes and Hemlines, In a Witch’s Wardrobe). As Hailey Lind, Juliet penned the Art Lover’s Mystery series, including Agatha-nominated Feint of Art.
A former anthropologist and social worker, Juliet has worked and studied in Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Italy, the Philippines, and France. She now lives in a happily haunted house in Oakland, California, where she is a muralist and portrait painter. She was a two-term president of Northern California Sisters in Crime.
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