Hello. I’m Lauren Vancouver. I was here on Killer Characters in January, before the first of my adventures, BEAGLEMANIA, was released. The second, THE MORE THE TERRIER, will be available starting this week.
I have to say that I’m not thrilled to be back. Rather, I’m quite pleased to be blogging here on Killer Characters, but I don’t like the idea of having to solve another murder. But an old friend put me on the spot, so here I am.
Here’s a reminder of my background. I save pets. That’s the most important thing to me--except for my two college-age kids, who thankfully understand how their mother is driven to take care of homeless or abused animals and find them new forever homes. And now there’s also my dear dog Zoey, a Border collie-Australian shepherd mix who helps me at HotRescues.
HotRescues is the wonderful no-kill private pet shelter in the San Fernando Valley that I was chosen to run. It’s fortunate enough to have been founded by Dante DeFrancisco, the wealthy magnate who runs the large pet store chain HotPets, so unlike most shelters we don’t lack for funds.
Now, here’s the problem. My dilemma. In BEAGLEMANIA, I had to solve a murder because I was the main suspect. And no wonder. The guy was an animal abuser. But of course I didn’t do it.
At the beginning of the story in THE MORE THE TERRIER, I make a horrific discovery. My old mentor, Mamie Spelling, who also ran a no-kill shelter, has turned into an animal hoarder! I had pretty much lost track of Mamie after Dante chose me to run HotRescues, since she had been miffed that I was selected instead of her. I suppose her heart was in the right place in wanting to save as many animals as possible, but she had way too many to care for adequately.
Of course I made sure that all those animals were taken into custody by Los Angeles Animal Services, as required by law. But my friend Matt Kingston, a captain with Animal Services, promised to let me know if any were in danger of being “euthanized”--a dumb word for the killing of animals just to make more room--so I could make sure that either HotRescues or another private shelter took them in to save them.
And then Bethany Urber was murdered. She was a very nasty and officious pet rescuer herself who started Pet Shelters Together, an organization comprised of a number of private shelters, and she hounded Mamie to stop hoarding and join. Mamie became the prime suspect in her killing.
The thing was, I was upset with Mamie for becoming an animal abuser. But could I let her get railroaded for a murder she didn’t commit? She was aging and confused, but I didn’t think she was a killer. So, as much as I hated getting involved with solving another murder, I stepped in to try to help.
Solving murders is definitely not my favorite pastime. And I most definitely don’t want to get into the position of being a “murder magnet” like Kendra Ballantyne, the lady friend of the HotRescues’ benefactor Dante. I like Kendra, who’s the protagonist in the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries, but I don’t want to be like her.
Even so, I--well, I think I’ve said enough. I’d suggest that you read THE MORE THE TERRIER if you want to know more.
And, by the way, I wasn’t pleased to learn from the writer who chronicles my stories that another one, HOUNDS ABOUND, is scheduled to be published in April 2012. I suppose that means I’ll have to solve another murder.
Linda O. Johnston writes the Pet Rescue Mysteries, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries. Visit her at www.LindaOJohnston.com, and friend her on Facebook.