Just want to take a moment to pimp fellow mystery author Steve Hockensmith, who writes a bunch of stuff, including the Holmes on the Range series, which I love. In his recent blog post, he writes about the art of the short story.
Scary messages in the soup, slugs in the bedroom, strange lights in the woods — and a painting that seems to age while its subject does not.
All that — which may have Oscar Wilde chuckling in the clouds — takes place in “The Portrait of Doreene Gray” (306 pages, Minotaur Books, $24.99), the second in Esri Allbritten’s series of Chihuahua mysteries featuring the staff of Tripping, a magazine devoted to the paranormal: editor Angus MacGregor, writer Michael Abernathy and photographer Suki Oota.
This time out, the three are off to Port Townsend, Wash., where rich, 58-year-old Doreene has put the painting by her twin sister, Maureene Pinter, up for sale. Determined to make a feature story out of the supposedly magical portrait, the journalists soon see the stakes elevated when death enters the picture. Meanwhile, Doreene’s Chihuahua, Gigi, finds herself depending on the kindness of strangers.
Clever and comical, Allbritten’s second outing is as entertaining as its predecessor, and the reader’s verdict on it is reached quickly: Aye, Chihuahua.
Yet another good writer/reviewer. I like “death enters the picture,” and I LOVE “Aye, Chihuhaua,” ’cause he spelled “Aye” the Scottish way, not the Mexican way. Clever.
Here’s a link to the full article. He reviews four other books.
Oh, and my paper.li Mystery Books Digest is out, if you didn’t see that elsewhere. It’s a once a week thing. You can subscribe, and everything (Zero Effect reference).
And if anyone is wondering why I disappeared for about three weeks, it’s because I was on a chorus trip to Costa Rica, and now I’m racing to my deadline. Wrote 23 pages yesterday. Boo-yah.
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Price ( Hardcover ): $23.99
Publication Date: July 5, 2011
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-312-56915-0
A magazine staff investigates a ghost dog’s appearance in a quirky Colorado town.
Beleaguered Scotsman Angus MacGregor is sent to resuscitate Tripping magazine (about ghosts, not drugs) with a fanciful story of a ghost dog. Charlotte Baskerville, the owner and operator of the niche shop Petey’s Closet, “Where the Well-Dressed Pooch Shops,” has seen the clothing catalog’s namesake wandering her home’s grounds at night, a year after Petey’s death. Charlotte’s sourpuss husband Thomas insists that her story is further grounds for having the poor old dear declared incompetent, though a skeptic might suspect he’s more concerned for her money than her mind. With bold photographer Suki Oota and cynical writer Michael Abernathy in tow, Angus visits the Baskerville home determined to write the story, whether or not the ghost is real. The Tripping team quickly becomes integrated into the quirky Baskerville household, from fame-hungry Russian dog trainer Ivan Blotski to Charlotte’s own granddaughter and recovering alcoholic Cheri to bizarrely optimistic neighbor Bob Hume, who’s obsessed with acai berries. Charlotte’s living Chihuahuas, Lila and Chum, play non-speaking, emotionally supportive roles for the old girl while Angus and his mates investigate in order to assuage her concerns over Petey’s message from the beyond. The mystery takes a backseat to tensions among the characters, all culminating at the town’s annual coffin race festival.
Allbritten (Bound to Love Her, 2008, etc., as Esri Rose) tells a light and engaging tale with charming characters that will appeal to those outside of both mystery and canine genres.