Guest Blogger – Arlene Kay

Mystery novels have always delighted and intrigued me. From the Bobbsey Twins straight through to Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie, I prided myself on following the clues, identifying the miscreant, and serving justice by solving the crime. What a challenge to match wits and triumph over wily authors who salted their prose with red herrings and misdirection! Cozy mysteries, police procedurals, private eyes and thrillers—I devoured them all. When former colleagues at that alphabet government agency asked about future plans, I had but one answer: I will write mystery novels!

Like many readers, I felt bereft when literary characters I had grown to love suddenly vanished. After all, I’d spent a good deal of time with them and established a sense of intimacy. They were friends. Family even. Thus, I became enamored of mystery series where the saga continued with each novel. In these books, Spencer and Susan (not to mention that dishy HAWK) lived on; Lord Peter and Harriet nourished their relationship; Emerson and Amelia Peabody flourished in an exotic land where adventure and danger lurked, and Dr. Alex Cross kept the streets of DC reasonably safe.

My first three published novels were stand alones featuring smart, sassy heroines matched by equally desirable partners. As each saga ended, I felt a tug of sadness. These lovingly crafted children of my mind had slipped forever into the abyss never to reappear. I missed them. Ultimately the urge to write a series was born. The Creature Comfort series sprang from my experience in the dog show world. While trudging across the North East with my Belgian Tervuren, I became painfully aware of how easily thwarted ambition, snubs and extra-curricula hijinks could lead to murder. Tennyson’s famed observation about “…nature red in tooth and claw…” was on open display but not from canines. Show dogs are bound by strict behavioral standards, so my Lord Byron and his comrades repressed their baser instincts. Their human companions sometimes did not. Bared teeth, growls and nips were common fare on that menu and became my inspiration for Death by Dog Show, followed closely by Homicide by Horse Show and Murder at the Falls.

I modeled my protagonist Persephone Morgan on the master leather-smith and dog breeder who produced Lord Byron. Smart, snarky and independent, Perri keeps one eye on the bottom line and the other on the odd assortment of friends and neighbors who surround her. She loves all animals, is a steadfast friend and an implacable foe with a weakness for a certain little girl and her toothsome dad. Perri, the kind of friend we all seek and seldom find, is a sleuth in the proud tradition of Amelia Peabody with a touch of Harriet Vane. Some purists resist the idea of a cozy character with emotional and physical needs. I celebrate a flesh and blood woman who can solve crimes while finding balance in her own life.


Leathersmith Persephone “Perri Morgan makes the kind of beautiful custom leashes and saddles that make wealthy dog and horse show lovers swoon – until murder strides onto the course…

When Perri’s BFF Babette hosts a meeting of Fairfax County’s affluent animal lovers to save a local horse rescue farm, the agenda gets sidetracked by the discovery of a corpse in the master bedroom. Everyone present is a suspect, including Perri’s main squeeze, Wing Pruett-Washington, DC’s sexiest reporter.

While Perri scours local horse and dog shows hoping to unmask the killer, she uncovers band manners, infidelity, and low-level crime in her hunt for the killer- but what she can’t find are grounds for murder. When the killer strikes again and she gets a warning to stop her sleuthing, Perri has to muster all her training-and all her allies, human and animal alike-to make it out of the ring alive.

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Praise for Arlene Kay’s Boston Uncommons Mysteries

‘Reminiscent of the comedy-mystery movies of the thirties…An entertaining first entry into the Boston Uncommons Mystery series

  • New York Journal of Books on Swann Dive

Highly entertaining…I can’t wait for the next book”

  • Jaye Roycraft, author Rainscape

An artful combination of humor, satire and savagery make Arlene Kay’s tales unique. The published author of nine mystery novels, is a former Treasury executive who traded the trappings of bureaucracy for the delights of murder most foul. She wisely confines her crimes to fiction although like all mystery writers she firmly believes that most deaths are suspicious, and everyone is a suspect. Her Creature Comforts series from Kensington (lyrical), includes Death by Dog Show; Homicide by Horseshow; and Therapy by Murder.

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