by Linda O. Johnston
We are delighted to welcome back mystery author Linda O. Johnston as our guest.
Linda's new "Pet Rescue Mystery" is Oodles of Poodles (Berkley Prime Crime, February 2013 mass market paperback and ebook formats).
Today Linda tells us about the origin to the story in the book.
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I write my current series, the Pet Rescue Mysteries, because I love animals, especially dogs. It's a spinoff from my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries — also featuring animals.
Photo provided courtesy of
Linda O. Johnston; photo credit Dan Irvin Photography
I also happen to live in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles.
It's no surprise, then, that I decided to make the background of my fourth Pet Rescue Mystery, Oodles of Poodles, the film industry, and its incorporation of animals into many movies.
It's even less of a surprise that I chose that theme since the American Humane Association, which is the only group that can provide a film with their trademarked certification that "No Animals Were Harmed", opened an office on Ventura Boulevard, not far from where I live. The thing was, from the time they opened that office and I saw their sign as I drove past, the image inserted itself into my mind. Animal lover that I am, I had to find out more, so I stopped in one day. The people there were amazing, giving me information, encouraging me to use "No Animals Were Harmed" and their also trademarked "Certified Animal Safety Representatives" in my story.
The American Humane Association is there to advise those involved in film production about how to take care of the animals in their movies, from the planning stages through the actual filming, and even into post production. They're there to observe on the set and make suggestions — and watch, to make sure that, in fact, "No Animals Were Harmed".
I love their diligence and their helpfulness. And I was inspired!
So how did I use what I learned from American Humane? Well, as I said, Oodles of Poodles takes place in the film industry. It's sort of a story within a story, since it's about a movie being filmed about rescued poodles, starring — you've got it! — rescued poodles! My cozy mystery protagonist Lauren Vancouver, chief administrator of the wonderful HotRescues animal shelter in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley, gets involved because of those cherished and adorable poodles. She's also involved because the HotRescues benefactor, Dante DeFrancisco, is one of the film's co-producers. Lauren visits the film sets often on his behalf — and to observe how the dogs are being treated. Also present is a Certified Animal Safety Representative because the film's executives want to be sure they obtain that coveted "No Animals Were Harmed" certification. One night the director, who had been endangering the poodles during the filming, is run over by a car. Murdered. The chief suspect is Lauren's good friend, veterinarian and TV personality Dr. Carlie Stellan. Of course Lauren has to find the real murderer and solve the crime to help Carlie … and the dogs.
I always enjoy writing my mysteries, and my romance novels, too. But Oodles of Poodles and its background have a very special place in my heart.
You can visit me at my website, LindaOJohnston.com, or find me on Facebook. I blog weekly at Killer Hobbies.
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Oodles of Poodles
Linda O. Johnston
A Lauren Vancouver, Pet Rescue Mystery (4th in series)
Shelter manager and pet rescuer Lauren Vancouver once again takes on the role of amateur sleuth when there's a murder on a film set …
Has Hollywood gone to the dogs?
Pet rescuer Lauren Vancouver is observing production on a new movie called Sheba's Story. The title character — a white Miniature poodle — is played by many similar-looking poodles, and to make sure no animals are harmed, Lauren's friend, veterinarian Carlie Stellan, and Grant, a handsome representative from the American Humane Association, are on location.
But when the film's director is killed in a suspicious hit-and-run after arguing with Carlie about animal safety, it's up to Lauren to clear her friend's name and catch a killer … before someone else ends up in oodles of deadly trouble.