To Fetch a Scoundrel, Four Fun “Tails” of Scandal and Murder (Mutt Mysteries)
by Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, Rosemary Shomaker, Teresa Inge
About To Fetch a Scoundrel
To Fetch a Scoundrel,
Four Fun “Tails” of Scandal and Murder
2nd in SeriesPublisher: Bay Breeze Publishing, LLC (March 2, 2020)
Print Length: 232 pages
Digital ASIN: B085BY9GXS
The mystery-solving mutts are back! To Fetch a Scoundrel, the second in the Mutt Mysteries collection, features four tail-wagging novellas. Each story puts pups’ noses to the ground, as scandals are unleashed and killers are collared. Once you’ve finished reading these tall “tails,” you’ll no longer wonder, “Who let the dogs out?” You’ll just be glad somebody did!
To Fetch a Scoundrel Authors “Transport” Readers with Mystery Fiction
Mystery fiction is “transporting.” Mystery fiction transports readers to a place of justice, where good triumphs over evil. Mystery fiction transports readers to a challenge, where readers’ detection and observational skills and intellect are valued. Mystery fiction transports readers geographically to other cities, states, and countries, or imaginatively to other worlds, planets, or simply fictional small towns. Mystery fiction transports readers to unique micro-cultures, quirky hobbies, and varied vocations and avocations. Mystery fiction transports readers into soap opera-like surroundings where readers identify and sympathize with and love and loathe characters. Wow. Mystery fiction does all this? Yes. Mysteries appeal on many levels, and one or more of those appealing aspects may be what hooks you as a reader.
Law and order is restored in Jayne Ormerod’s “Pawsitively Scandalous” as Pilar, Ryleigh, and Grant’s Garden neighbors connect the dots and identify a woman’s killer. The best visual in the story is how Pilar gets the attention of Officer McNeely through police cruiser windshield communication. She and Officer McNeely find a way to work together. Catt, Em, and Jonathan Ray, in Teresa Inge’s “A Doggone Scandal,” bring a scoundrel to justice, just as do Cassidy Green and Rottweiler Oliver in Heather Weidner’s “The Fast and the Furriest.” Does anyone else see sparks in Catt’s interactions with Detective Dexter Harrington? Surely Cassidy’s relationship with Trooper Hendricks is one to watch.
As readers are transported through a mystery, they are hand-in-hand with the sleuth, collecting clues and pieces of the puzzle. The clues, misdirection, and shifty dealing in Rosemary Shomaker’s “Ruff Goodbye” put readers’ minds to work. With legion secrets and multiple scoundrels, readers shuffle the puzzle pieces. Catt Ramsey and crew cover some distance between Virginia Beach and North Carolina’s Outer Banks to sniff out the truth. Does the guy Norma Jeane Baker meets in the small, white house hold the key? Inquiring minds want to know!
Who among us doesn’t derive a great deal of satisfaction by puzzling out the mystery BEFORE the sleuth? Jayne Ormerod, author of “Pawsitively Scandalous,” weighs in. “True confession time . . . I am an ‘end reader,’ meaning I read the last chapter of the book first, to see how things turn out. (Yes, I peeked at all my Christmas presents before Christmas morning, too. It’s a character flaw . . .) But I justify my end-reading habit for mysteries because if I know the ending, I can pay better attention to how the author doles out jagged-edge bits of information that don’t seem to fit at all, but in the end, they do!”
Jayne comments there are dozens of ways that a writer misdirects the reader’s attention. “For example, the author presents a list of innocuous items when a woman dumps her purse, one of which is a vital clue. Or s/he may plant the clue before it has any bearing on the case at all. Emotional cover-ups are good, too. The reader is so focused on the angst the character is experiencing, they fail to notice the clues being dropped ever-so sneakily.”
A term often used in relation to mysteries is “red herring,” Jayne reminds us. “By the strictest definition, a red herring is a kipper, dried in a smoker until it turns read. It is very smelly. The practice of dragging a kipper across the trail during a hunt to intentionally misdirect the hounds is applied to mysteries. A writer drops in something that has nothing to do with the case, leading the sleuth—and the reader—in the wrong direction. This is perhaps the most often used method a mystery writer employs to keep the reader from guessing the villain too early.”
Jayne adds, “The contributing authors of To Fetch a Scoundrel employ many tricks to keep the reader guessing. For obvious reasons, I won’t go over them here. You will have to read the stories yourselves and see if you can solve the puzzle before the amateur sleuth. Good luck! There are some real tricks in there! And if you are an end reader, too, that’s okay. You are not alone. Happy Reading!”
The To Fetch a Scoundrel novellas propel readers into Central Virginia, eastern Virginia and North Carolina, and two fictional geographic locales. The stories give readers a view of settings including a rural car racing venue, funeral home, and condominium community, in addition to allowing readers to peer into the windows of restaurant, dog walker, pet supply warehouse, racetrack management, and entrepreneurial party planning local businesses. In addition to meeting characters like racecar driver Donnie Ellis, dog show veteran Geoffrey Burnside, Port wine connoisseur Perry Lambert, and dog walker Emma Ramsey, readers see bits of action and detail of those lives. The conflicts and tensions between characters, as well as their affections and loyalties, make what happens matter to readers and invest readers in story outcomes.
Heather Weidner, “The Fast and the Furriest” author, says, “Mystery fiction takes readers to all kinds of places. In many cases, they’re ordinary, expected, or familiar to the reader, but then something happens. A crime jars the reader and the main character out of the normalcy and into a world full of danger and secrets.”
In Heather’s novella, racetrack owner, Cassidy Green struggles to keep her family racetrack solvent. Then Oliver, her Rottweiler, sniffs around the garage and finds the body of a popular driver. Cassidy jumps in and tries to find out what happened in an effort to solve the crime before the bad publicity destroys her business.
Like many cozy mysteries, Heather’s story is set in a rural area, Amelia County, Virginia with a small cast of characters, most of whom know each other. Heather says, “A horrific crime takes place, and almost everyone is a suspect. Cassidy and Oliver have to nose around and uncover clues that eventually help them solve the crime. Cassidy has a background in marketing, and she inherits the track from her father. She is an amateur sleuth with no law enforcement experience. And her trusty sidekick, Oliver, provides companionship and assistance with tracking down the murderer.”
One of the appealing aspects of mystery fiction may be the key to your attraction to the genre, but often it’s a combination of mystery fiction attributes that keeps readers coming back for more. This blog post’s brief explanation of mystery fiction’s appeal may give you the “ah-ha” moment of understanding and help you explain to family, friends, and coworkers why they should read more mysteries!
About the Authors
Originally from Virginia Beach, HEATHER WEIDNER has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and Deadly Southern Charm. Secret Lives and Private Eyes, The Tulip Shirt Murders, and Glitter, Glam, and Contraband are her novels in the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries, and her novellas appear in the Mutt Mysteries. She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, James River Writers, and International Thriller Writers. Through the years, she has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.
- Website and Blog
- Amazon Authors
JAYNE ORMEROD grew up in a small Ohio town then went on to a small-town Ohio college. Upon earning her degree in accountancy, she became a CIA (that’s not a sexy spy thing, but a Certified Internal Auditor). She married a naval officer and off they sailed to see the world. After nineteen moves, they, along with their two rescue dogs Tiller and Scout, have settled into a cozy cottage by the sea. Jayne is the author of over a dozen published stories, from novel length to short-short.
ROSEMARY SHOMAKER writes about the unexpected in everyday life. She’s the woman you don’t notice in the grocery store or at church but whom you do notice at estate sales and wandering vacant lots. In all these places she’s collecting story ideas. Rosemary writes mystery, women’s fiction, and paranormal short stories. Stay tuned as she takes her first steps toward longer fiction.
TERESA INGE grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Combining her love of reading mysteries and writing professional articles led to writing short fiction and novellas. Today, she juggles assisting two busy executives and is the president of the Sisters in Crime, Mystery by the Sea chapter. Teresa is the author of the Virginia is Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and the Mutt Mysteries series.
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