Oct 6, 2012 | 2012 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Pets

by Shelley Freydont

Also in this issue a review of Shelley’s latest mystery Foul Play At The Fair and a chance to win a copy of the book.

Fictional sleuths must have their sidekicks, whether it’s a best friend or boyfriend, a mother in law or pet. Sherlock Holmes has Dr. Watson, Stephanie Plum has her hamster, Rex, even Miss Marple has her knitting.

The protagonists in my mysteries are amateurs, those people with normal jobs and lives who get caught up in investigating murder, usually through no wish of their own. These novels are called amateur sleuth or “cozy” novels, which means there is no graphic violence. It also means that you get to incorporate families and hobbies and occupations into the story.

In Foul Play at the Fair, Liv Montgomery, a successful Manhattan event planner, gets fed up with the stress of big city party planning. So she packs up her belongings and her Westie terrier Whiskey and takes a job in a New York State destination town, called Celebration Bay.

Why does Liv share her life with a Westie? Why not a cat or gerbil or goldfish? Because whether living in an apartment in the city or in her little bungalow in the country, Whiskey is the perfect roommate.

In Celebration Bay, the air is fresh, Whiskey is welcome at her office, there are miles and miles of woods and fields to explore, lots of new friends, and they’re both happy as can be. He’s perfectly willing to watch television with her at the end of a long day. And he can sense her moods almost faster than she does. He’s a sympathetic listener. And a good watchdog.

And when it comes to investigating murder, there is no one Liv would rather have by her side.

Westies are smart. After all they’ve spent decades tracking foxes, badgers and ferreting them out when they go to ground. All this takes an ability to think on the job. Their noses are keen and can follow a scent without getting distracted. They can hear things that humans can’t. Whiskey knows when the refrigerator door opens even when he’s asleep several rooms away. Liv swears he understands conversations, and even though Mr. Congeniality thinks everybody is his friend, he’s pretty quick on the uptake when that person shows his true colors. Liv’s assistant Ted, a handsome man of a certain age, is teaching him how to sing. Which might not be useful when running down a suspect, but you never know.

Westies are brave. They only look like a “little dog,” and don’t say that word around a Westie. Westies have attitude, and Whiskey is no exception. Their self esteem gives them the edge over larger challengers. They won’t back down, whether their prey be fox or criminal. A crook might underestimate Whiskey once, but he won’t make that mistake again. And cats? Really, he just wants to be friends.

Westies are sturdy, speedy and have a lot of stamina, which comes in handy when chasing a “perp” or hiding out with a wrongly accused friend. Whiskey loves to run and play and he’s usually up for an interesting walk, but when Liv dons her morning running gear and it’s still dark outside…you might be able to find him under the bed. He loves to run…when he’s in the mood.

Westies are curious and they love to play. What better game than Whodunit?

I hope you’ll join Liv and Whiskey on their murder-solving escapades. I’d love to hear your Westie Tales.

Want to know how to see your ad like this at the end of an article? Email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] for more info. 10% of all ad sales now goes to animal rescue.

Shelley Freydont is the author of eight mysteries that have been translated into seven languages. She loves puzzles of all kinds and when not writing or reading mysteries, she’s most likely working on a jigsaw, Sudoku, or crossword. She lives in New Jersey and loves to hear from readers. Learn more about Shelley on her website and Facebook page.


  1. What a fun romp in Westie land!! Sounds like a great side-kick.

  2. I’ve always had Scotties but I love those curious little Westies with their sweet, sweet faces. I definitely want to read this one!


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