Purebred Dead By Kathleen Delaney: Review/Guest Post/Giveaway

Sep 5, 2015 | 2015 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze, Pets

by Cynthia Chow
& Kathleen Delaney

This week we have a review of Purebred Dead, an animal mystery by Kathleen Delaney. We also have a fun guest post from Kathleen about why some people have pets and some don’t. At the end of this post are details on how to win a copy of the book, along with a link to purchase it.

Purebred Dead: A Canine Mystery By Kathleen Delaney
Review by Cynthia Chow

Despite having retired from teaching, Mary McGill never seems to have a minute to spare as she manages the Victorian Christmas Extravaganza in Santa Louisa, California. Not included on her to-do list was coping with the discovery of the body of Cliff Mathews in St. Theresa’s manger. While Mary has fond memories of the benevolent veterinarian, his alcoholism led to the loss of his license after a series of tragic mistakes left traumatized pet owners in its wake.

Widowed with a dry sense of humor, Mary is astounded at the amount of bitterness and resentment still held against Cliff. Even more shocking is that Cliff may not have been as reformed as she had thought, and as a result Mary learns that many of her closest friends and neighbors may have had cause for wanting the man dead.book

Animal lovers will thoroughly enjoy this mystery, but be warned that this novel ventures into dark territory. The author never shies away from exploring the ethics of purebred breeding as a business, but she also delves into the emotional connection owners have with their pets. One of Cliff’s misdeeds is truly horrific, and the brutal result will have readers cringing in sympathy.

This is still a smalltown cozy mystery, though, and between her queries Mary juggles the Christmas Can Tree food drive, baking for food drives, and ensuring that the Extravaganza continues without a hitch. Mary also finds herself being drawn toward the many puppies she sees needing adoption, and even though she has no time to spare, an adorable mixed Cocker Spaniel is not about to give her a choice. Mary’s strong character and admirable dedication to her town make her a welcome heroine in this enjoyable debut of a dog-lover’s series.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

To Pet or not to Pet
By Kathleen Delaney Koppang

I have recently sold my house and have had a larger than usual number of people in and out. Prospective buyers, inspection people, appraisers, all sorts of people, and have been struck with the varied attitudes when they meet my four legged crew.

There are three dogs, and a grouchy cat. The dogs are young and greet all comers with exuberance, sometimes a little too much exuberance. The cat just wanders through the house, grumbling. The reaction to them from our visitors has gotten me thinking once again why some of us have animals and some do not and, once again, I have no answers. However, some of the reasons people have given me, unasked, as to why they don’t have pets has been interesting. I must admit, they have a point. I thought I’d list a few of them and my reaction, because that is exactly what this is, my reaction to their comments. It may be why I have three dogs and a cat and they have none.

“I couldn’t possibly live with a cat box” is high on the list. Dirty, smelly, have to work constantly to keep it clean seem to be the most general comments. Those with small children or small dogs who are partial to “helping” keep it clean are particularly vocal. Of course, there are those who are willing to have a cat as long as it never comes inside and agrees to keep the property free of mice and other vermin. It has been my totally unscientific observation those cats often move on to other more comfortable accommodations.


Kathleen and some of her dogs at the Seattle Mystery Bookstore

I’m not fond of the litter box, either. However, I am fond of the cats who choose to live with me. Cats don’t honor everyone with their presence or they insist on sitting on your lap when they, not you, choose. I’ve noticed they only sit on the laps of those people they like and trust, or those who despise them. Watching your cat bestow its attentions on someone who wants nothing to do with it makes cleaning the litter box almost worthwhile.

One reason some people say they don’t want a dog is because they like to travel. What do you do with the dog while you’re away? It’s true, you can’t take your dog everywhere but there are plenty of places you can. Dogs love to travel, at least mine do. I’ve traveled across the US by car three times with dogs. One was a German Shepherd who loved riding in elevators. I never worried about my safety with her by my side. I think that goes in the pro column, don’t you?

Dogs love picnics and are allowed in most state and federal parks. Lots of beaches welcome them, even if the birds don’t. It’s easier to travel with them in Europe where they are welcomed on buses, trains, under tables where they snooze, and snack, while their human companions eat lunch, but even here, a little forethought makes traveling with a dog easier.

In the US, research as to where a dog is welcome, and under what circumstances is essential, but they can sure spice up a rather otherwise boring trip. I’ll give you some real live examples in another blog. And if you’re going someplace they really can’t go, I’ll be happy to pass along the name of a good dog sitter.

“Dogs drag dirt in all over the house and they shed.” There is not much I can say about that. They do, to both things. I have never been successful at getting my dogs to wipe their feet before coming in, and I don’t always catch them in time after they they’ve finished romping over a wet lawn or through a muddy flower bed. I wasn’t much more successful getting five kids to wipe theirs either. So I ditched the wall to wall carpet, blessed the person (probably a woman with lots of kids and dogs) who invented laminated flooring and slip covers, and made a vow early on if I couldn’t wash it, it couldn’t live in my house.

Shedding is a little harder and I don’t really blame the women who don’t want dog hair on every surface they try to sit on. I’ve had a number of dogs with double coats and they insist on losing one of them a couple of times a year. I’ve vacuumed up enough hair in one day to make a whole new dog and didn’t even get it all. So, they have my sympathy and understanding. However, there was a woman at the world’s fair when it was in Vancouver (I think it was Vancouver) who carded her dogs hair like the wool of sheep, and made it into yarn. She knit beautiful sweaters, lap robes, and scarves. Lovely things. I really can’t speak to this as a good reason to rejoice in a shedding dog as I do not knit, nor do I weave, but I sure do vacuum.

Upon reading this I don’t think I’ve made a very objective case for living with animals. They are messy, they do bring dirt into the house, they also muss up your bedspread and take up more than their share of room on the couch. They drip water on the floor when they drink and put their feet in the water bowl, spilling it all over the kitchen. They go crazy when it’s time for a walk and are asleep on the couch when it’s time to take out the garbage. Sounds a lot like teen-agers, doesn’t it?

But they’re ready to listen when it’s been an absolutely rotten day. They don’t mind if you blow off steam about your boss, kids, husband, world leader or any other thing that’s driving you crazy. They’re always up for a ride in the car and don’t ask every two minutes if we can stop at McDonald’s. They never say “I told you so” when you make a bad decision and they make you laugh – even the cat.

It isn’t very logical, and they can be a royal pain in the…but I can’t even begin to picture life without one. Or two, or… So, all you people who think they make life way too complicated, well, I feel sorry for you. A dog, a cat, even a ferret, can un-complicate your life pretty darn fast. All it takes is for one of them to drape themselves over your lap while you watch the latest news broadcast, that clinched fist will dissolve into a hand stroking a furry and very appreciative back, and life will seem pretty good again.

To enter to win a copy of Purebred Dead, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Purebred,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 12, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.

Click on this link to purchase this book:

KRL Banner Ad - Footprints in Frost

Kathleen Delaney is the author of the 5 Ellen McKenzie real estate mysteries. Set in a small town in California’s central coast, Kathleen lived and worked there for many years as a real estate broker, putting the trauma of watching a small town grow and change to good advantage in her mysteries. Her new series, the Mary McGill canine mysteries, are also set on the central coast. Although Mary McGill and Ellen McKenzie are quite different, both series have been praised by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus and Booklist, among others. Kathleen has five grown children and 8 grandchildren. She now lives in Georgia with 2 dogs and a cranky cat. You can learn more about Kathleen and her books on her website.


  1. Sounds like a very interesting mystery! And hearing about the darker side of breeding doesn’t scare me after hearing and seeing all the horror stories in the news…it hurts my heart, but it is something I need to learn more about as a pet owner (all but one were strays, plus the feral family we feed). Would love to read this! Thank you for the interesting post and review!

  2. I loved the blog and expect I’ll love the book, too.

  3. Lived with dogs for more than 30 years and I, too, cannot imagine life without them. I shudder to imagine what the book might reveal about purebred dog breeding, but I’m game to learn. Can’t fix what I’m ignorant about.

  4. Just as anything to do with animals, there are truly good people who love whole heartedly and there are horror stories. It is a sad fact, but true, not everyone is a good person.

  5. We have a winner
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.