Why Poodles? by V.M. Burns

When I was a kid my sister and I begged our parents to let us get a dog. We promised to feed, exercise, and care for the dog. We even promised to take on countless additional chores to sweeten the deal. While my dad was onboard with the idea, my mom was not. Eventually, we wore her down and she agreed to allow us to get a dog. However, there were conditions. The only breed of dog my mom would even consider was a poodle, a toy poodle.

The reason? Poodles don’t shed. My mom hated dog hair and absolutely refused any breed of dog that shed. So, given a choice between a toy poodle and no dog, we anxiously accepted. Our first poodle was a white toy named Candy. Candy was ten years old when we got her (toy breeds tend to live longer). She was smart and loving and everything we could have asked for and more. She wasn’t in the house one week before all of the rules (eg no feeding the dog table food, no allowing the dog on the furniture, etc.) were tossed out the window. It wasn’t uncommon to hear my mom in the kitchen telling Candy to bark if she wanted hamburger or chicken for dinner. Candy stayed off the furniture when my mom was home but wasn’t able to straighten the mussed bedspread where she would lay when left home alone. Nor was it unusual to find us sitting in the car outside of our house looking at Candy as she stood on the arm of the chair so she could look out of the window to watch for us after church. It wasn’t long before Candy became more than a pet to us. She was a member of our family.

After Candy we got Cookie, another white toy poodle. As an adult, I got two chocolate toy poodles, Coco and Cash, which have been the inspiration for the two dogs in my Mystery Bookshop Mystery series, Snickers and Oreo. The most recent addition to my poodle pack is a three-year old black toy poodle named Kensington who is the inspiration for Agatha, “Aggie” in my new Dog Club Mystery series. Poodles are extremely intelligent, loving, great family dogs and easy to train, and they don’t shed.

A killer wants Lilly Echosby to roll over and play dead . . .

Lilly may be losing a husband but she’s gaining a toy poodle. That could be seen as a win-win, since her new adopted pooch Aggie (named after Agatha Christie) is cute and adorable, and Lilly’s dirty dog of a spouse is cheating on her with a blond bimbo—except for one problem: Albert Echosby’s just been murdered, and Lilly is the number-one suspect.

With the cops barking up the wrong tree, it’s a good thing her best friend Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson from Chattanooga, Tennessee, decided to take a break from the dog club circuit to pay a visit, along with her own prize pair of poodles. With help from Dixie, her defense attorney daughter, and a blue-eyed man in blue with a K-9 partner, Lilly is determined to collar the real killer. But when a second murder occurs, it’s clear they’re dealing with one sick puppy . . .