Braced For MurderMy mistress, Elsie MacBean, has had her say in our Lake Tahoe adventures. Now it’s my turn, and I’ll be doggoned if I’m not going to howl it like it is.

Cruiser’s my name, howling is my game. I’m a basset hound and the one with the real nose for crime in this partnership. I mean, just look at me. I’m perfectly suited for the job. I’m set low to the ground (in France, where my breed originated, basset means low set), sturdy and compact, perfect for tracking game long distances through the underbrush without tiring. I have a short, dense coat. That’s a useful quality up here at Lake Tahoe where it’s cold and there’s lots of scrub and prickly Manzanita in the forest. Ah, the forest. For a scent hound like me, it’s whufflesnortin’ heaven.

My ears are long and pendulous. Mom loves to stroke them because they are so soft and velvety to the touch. When I run, my Dumbo ears flap and drag the ground, stirring up the oldest, faintest traces of a crime. Even microscopic skin cells shed from a perp are fanned into the millions of scent cells in my super-sensitive nose. Some claim that dogs can even smell colors, which comes in handy since we don’t see in color. The only dog with a sharper nose than mine is the bloodhound, but I’m easier to follow on foot than my long-legged cousin.

Over the years, I’ve put my super-sniffer schnozzle to good use tracking the nasty rogues that wreak havoc on the good folks in South Lake Tahoe. I’m basically an easy-going guy, but contrary to what most people think about bassets, when the going gets tough this hound gets going. Once I’m on the trail, I’ll never quit, and I can be downright fearless when called for. Luckily for Beanie and her daughter, Nona, who often find themselves in peril, I sound the alarm at just the right moment with my sonorous bay. Until now, Tahoe crimes have been solved by Beanie and Cruiser, thanks in no small part to yours drooly … I mean, truly. But in our latest case, BRACED FOR MURDER, I have a new crime-busting sidekick named Calamity. My mistress rescued her from a local shelter, but that crazy basset is going to require a lot of on-the-job training. Fortunately, I’m the perfect sleuthhound for the task.

People complain that I salivate a lot, and I guess I do. To tell the truth, I put Pavlov’s poor mutt to shame. Deputy Sheriff Skip Cassidy, Beanie’s best friend, hates it when I drool on his clean khakis. Mom tries not to get annoyed with me when I slobber on her clothes and furniture. I suppose that’s why she keeps a jowl towel handy at all times to soak up the dribbles. Hey, if her only sweat glands were in her tongue, she’d slobber, too.

She’s not perfect, either. Not only is she a two-legger, but her sense of smell is totally inadequate. And those useless little ears of hers! No wonder she’s practically deaf compared to me. I can hear a squirrel drop an acorn on the other side of the mountain. But if you love someone unconditionally, you learn to overlook her shortcomings.

With all the news coverage we get in the Tahoe Tattler for crime solving, I’ve become quite the media hound. She calls me her PR pup. Of course, she eats it up since she’s a stringer for the Tattler. Until she encounters another Tahoe mystery for me to help her solve, I’ll try to keep a low profile. Fortunately, for a basset hound that’s not difficult.

Sue is giving away one (1) copy of BRACED FOR MURDER. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Contest ends June 5 and US entries only.

Meet the author
Sue Owens Wright is an award-winning author of books and articles about dogs. She is a multiple winner of the Maxwell Award from the Dog Writers Association of America for the best writing on the subject of dogs, and has been recognized by the Humane Society of the United States for her work. She writes the Beanie and Cruiser Mystery Series: Howling Bloody Murder, Sirius about Murder, Embarking on Murder, and Braced for Murder. Her nonfiction books are What’s Your Dog’s IQ?, 150 Activities for Bored Dogs, and People’s Guide to Pets. For more about the author, visit

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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