I wake up in every morning burrowed under the pillows on the living room sofa, while my nemesis, Albert the Cat, slumbers on the bed in the bedroom. I do not complain. It is my duty to protect the casa from intruders, and only the living room allows me to patrol the perimeter, plus late-night television.

I am Pepe el Macho. I may appear to be a small purse-sized dog. After all, I am only five inches tall (seven if you count my ears) and seven pounds. But my courage is muy grande. I am a private investigator, along with my companion, Geri Sullivan.

Compadre. That is what I would Geri in my own language. That is a word I have carefully chosen as many others are inadequate for describing the animal-human relationship. For instance: “owner.” Do you realize that human law considers us mere property? And since I was rescued from a pound (I was part of a shipment of forty Chihuahuas flown up to Seattle from Los Angeles), my value in dollars would be nada. Ridiculous!

One might also call me Geri’s caretaker. After all without me, who would walk her daily to be sure she is getting adequate exercise and fresh air? And who would be sure she eats at regular intervals? (I achieve this by going into the kitchen and staring at the cupboards.) And who would help her solve her cases?

Geri got her first job working as a PI on the very same day she adopted me. I ran ahead of her into the open door of the mansion where we were supposed to meet our first client and found a corpse on the carpet. You can see how useful I am! And if you wish to learn how that turned out, you should read Dial C For Chihuahua. I cannot tell you more as I would not want to spoil your pleasure in reading of my adventures.

As soon as I wake up, I turn on the TV so I can watch my favorite telenovella, Paraiso Perdido. Today the lovely Conchita is running through the corridors of a hospital, hiding from Homer, the villain. He knows she is the sole witness to his attempt to murder her lover. Just as he notices the points of her silver shoes sticking out from underneath a curtain in the emergency room, the show ends for the day.

Click! Geri turns off the TV and tells me our boss, Jimmy G., has a new case for us. After I make sure Geri has eaten breakfast and gone for a brisk walk, we hop into her beat-up old green Toyota and drive into downtown Seattle to meet with Jimmy G. at his office.

“Hiya, doll,” he says to Geri. “And hey to the rat-dog too.” Apparently he means this affectionately. “Jimmy G. has a case that is right up your alley!” For some reason, Jimmy G. always talks about himself in third person. “It involves a dog.”

I start dreaming about a bitch, with strong aroma and luscious fur, like mi amor, Siren Song, the luscious Pomeranian. But alas, she is in Los Angeles on the set of Dancing with Dogs. Would that I were there dancing with her!

Jimmy G. goes on to say: “The dog’s name is Dogawanda. Have you heard of him?”

I have not. So Geri fills me in. “He’s an ancient warrior dog who speaks through a channeler, a woman by the name of Sherry Star. He has quite a following.”

“Crazy folks!” said Jimmy G., shaking his head.

“Maybe not so loco,” I point out. “I think all humans could learn much by listening to dogs. I would like to have a following myself.”

Jimmy G. tells us we are supposed to go undercover in the group and deliver a message from a husband to his wife who has joined the group.

“Should be simple.” Jimmy G. says, rolling his eyes. “Unless you fall for their line of B.S.”

“Don’t worry, Jimmy G.,” Geri says. “I’m too smart to fall under the spell of a dog.”

Do I need to point out the irony in that statement?

You can read more about Pepe and Geri in Dial C For Chihuahua, the first book in the new “Barking Detective” mystery series.

Meet the author
Waverly Curtis is the pen name of Waverly Fitzgerald and Curt Colbert.

Curt Colbert is the author of the Jake Rossiter and Miss Jenkins mysteries, a series of hardboiled, private detective novels set in 1940’s Seattle. The first book, Rat City, was nominated for a Shamus Award in 2001. A Seattle native, Curt is also a poet and an avid history buff. He is the editor of Seattle Noir, a collection of crime stories published in 2009. He was a judge for the Edgars in 2008 and is a member of the Mystery Writers of America. Curt and his wife live in a Seattle suburb under the thrall of their cat, Esmeralda.

Waverly Fitzgerald is the author of four historical romances set in Victorian London under the name of Nancy Fitzgerald. She has taught writing classes for adults at the UCLA Writers Program, the University of Washington Extension, and Richard Hugo House, a literary arts center in Seattle. Waverly is also the author of Slow Time: Recovering the Natural Rhythms of Life. She lives in an apartment in the heart of Seattle with her daughter, Shaw, and Shaw’s Chihuahua, Pepe.

Waverly and Curt met in a writing class in the late 1980s and have been working together ever since. When Curt came up with the idea of a mystery featuring a talking Chihuahua named Pepe, Waverly asked if she could help and the collaboration began. Curt loves to start chapters; Waverly finishes them. Curt loves to elaborate and Waverly likes to edit. Curt’s humor is broader while Waverly’s humor is more situational. Together they are an unstoppable mystery novel writing team.

Pepe is an eight-year old Chihuahua, adopted by Waverly’s daughter Shaw, when he was a puppy. He likes stuffed toys, especially if they squeak. He hates the rain, which is unfortunate since he lives in Seattle. Like his namesake character, he hates being dressed up and thinks he is much bigger than he is. Unlike his namesake, he has a sweet disposition and doesn’t talk much, but he does have his own Facebook page.

For more information on the adventures of the fictional, Pepe Sullivan, check out our website at www.thepepenovels.com

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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