The two characters in the Jordan Davis Mysteries with the fewest lines are Muffin, Jordan’s miniature Schnauzer, and BB, Gray’s Maine Coon cat. Why put animal characters in a story?
Lillian Jackson Braun and Rita Mae Brown both use cats effectively in their mysteries. Ms. Braun’s cat acts like a real cat, not having any inner monologue, but putting itself in situations that draw attention to clues for its sometimes oblivious human. Whereas, Ms. Brown’s Sneaky Pie Brown acts as a credited co-writer and has segments where he carries the narrative along.
WC Fields once warned against appearing in an act that includes animals or children. They tend to steal the show.
I’ve let Muffin be as close to a real dog as I can manage. He’s small and friendly, terrified of cats, and leads Jordan into dangerous situations because she is very protective of him.
In Last Wishes, Muffin and Jordan’s interaction tells us more about her than a thousand words extolling her virtues. Muffin seldom leaves her side, even when she’s riding her Triumph motorcycle. He rides inside a special cage and wears specially made helmet and red leather jacket with black embossed lettering—Born to Ride.
On the other hand, BB, who you will meet in Clubbed to Death, which will be released May 12th, is large and imperious. In case you’ve never seen one, Maine Coons are large cats, and BB outweighs Muffin, try twice as heavy and larger. He is as likely to strut off with his tail in the air as he is to seek the affection of others—yet he is a sucker for a scratch between his ears or a warm lap to crowd as he sleeps.
Like most cats, BB finds the hyperactive Muffin a nuisance.
BB is the perfect counterpart for Gray. Cats are lower maintenance than dogs, ideal for a judge used to keeping long hours. Gray would never tolerate an uncontrolled roamer, so an imperial cat who is leash trained is right up his alley. Yes, BB, ever the gentleman, enjoys his evening strolls.
How people treat animals says a lot about them. The murderer in Last Wishes, when unable to attack Jordan, uses an attack on Muffin as a substitute. By contrast, Kiki, one of the characters in Clubbed to Death, is willing to risk Jordan’s wrath by sneaking human food to Muffin in spite of repeated warnings.
Yet don’t be fooled. That old saw that says you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat animals and children, isn’t true. Many a killer has had a beloved pet and been the perfect next door neighbor. So while the killer in Last Wishes was cruel to Muffin, another one might be the veterinarian or the kindly, old cat lady down the street.