TAIL-WAGGING PRAISE FOR THE BARKING DETECTIVE MYSTERIES
“Hollywood is the stage for this enjoyable caper starring amateur P.I. Geri Sullivan and her talking Chihuahua/partner, Pepe. The characters are comical, especially Pepe, who will have you laughing out loud. A great read.”
“Light as a feather and a whole lot of fun.”
“Hop on board the TV-studio tour bus for this light cozy.”
DIAL C FOR CHIHUAHUA
“Three woofs and a big bow-wow for
Dial C for Chihuahua
. Pepe is one cool sleuth—just don’t call him a dog! I really loved the book.”
, author of the Lucy Stone mysteries
“Readers will sit up and beg for more.”
Sushi the Shih Tzu
, canine star of the
Trash ‘n’ Treasures
mysteries by Barbara Allan
“Writing duo Curtis has created a humorous but deadly serious mystery. Pepe is a delight and more intelligent than most humans in the book. An ex-husband and current love interest keep Geri’s life hopping. Crafty plotting will keep you engrossed until the end and have you eagerly awaiting the next book.”
“Every dog has its day and there’ll be plenty of days for Geri Sullivan and Pepe in this fun twist on the typical PI partnership.”
, author of
Did Not Finish
“Waverly Curtis has created a delightful cast of human and canine characters in
Dial C for Chihuahua
. Pepe never loses his essential dogginess, even as he amazes gutsy Geri Sullivan, his partner in crime detection, with his past exploits and keen nose for detail. I look forward to Pepe’s next adventure!”
, author of the Professor Bradshaw Mysteries
“Move over, Scooby-Doo, there’s a new dog in town!
Dial C for Chihuahua
is a fun and breezy read, with polished writing and charming characters, both human and canine. If you like a little Chihuahua with your mystery, former purse-dog Pepe is a perfect fit!”
, author of the Do-It-Yourself Home Renovation mysteries
“Do you think our boss will like it?” I asked my dog as I reached into the backseat to grab the framed newspaper clipping.
“It does not matter what I think,” said Pepe with a bitter tone in his voice. My small white Chihuahua was sitting in the passenger seat. “I am just a dog.”
“Yes, but a dog that talks,” I said.
, you are the only one who can hear me,” Pepe said. “If only I could have spoken to the reporter, I would have set her straight.” He was referring to the story that had been published in the
about the resolution of our last case. I had cut it out and framed it for our boss, Jimmy Gerrard, who was prominently featured in the article. It downplayed the part Pepe and I had played, which was fine with me. It’s pretty hard to explain that your dog talks. But it galled Pepe that he didn’t get more credit for taking down the bad guys.
“Maybe we’ll have better luck with this new case,” I said. “Jimmy G said it’s perfect for us.”
We had parked right in front of the run-down brick building where Jimmy G has his office. It is on the edge of downtown Seattle in a slightly seedy neighborhood, which suits our boss fine, as he likes to think of himself as a hard-boiled detective of the same ilk as Philip Marlowe.
The building always seems to be empty. I’ve never run into anyone in the lobby or while walking down the hall, although there are names stenciled on the frosted glass of the doors advertising the offices of a tax preparer, an importing firm, and something called Secret Star Productions. The office of the Gerrard Agency is on the third floor at the end of the hall. There was a letter-sized piece of paper obscuring the familiar gold letters spelling out G
It had bold red type across the top of it. As I got closer, I saw it was an eviction notice.
, Geri?” asked Pepe.
“It says Jimmy G has three days to pay his rent or else he will be kicked out,” I said, pulling the paper off the door. I set the framed article down and tried the doorknob, but it was locked. Jimmy G had never given me a key. I rattled the doorknob and knocked on the pane of glass. To help me, Pepe uttered a few of his tiny barks.
“Hey, don’t blow a gasket,” came a muffled voice from inside. I heard some banging sounds, some shuffling sounds, and then the door opened, revealing a rumpled Jimmy G.
I had always suspected that Jimmy G slept in his office, and his appearance seemed to bear that out. His eyes were bleary and red, and his white shirt was wrinkled. He was still buckling the belt on his tan slacks, and his shoulder holster and gun were hanging on the coat rack by the door, along with his fedora and tan trench coat. He smelled like cheap bourbon and cigar smoke.
He has big brown eyes that are almost as soulful as Pepe’s, which may be why I am so tolerant of his bad behavior. He looks like he needs someone to take care of him, which is my weakness. I had adopted Pepe from a local animal shelter when I read about all the Chihuahuas who were being flown up to Seattle from Los Angeles where they were being abandoned in record numbers.
“Look at this!” I said, slapping down the eviction notice on his desk, which was piled high with papers.
“Read it to Jimmy G, doll,” he said as he reached into his desk drawer to pull out a bottle of Jim Beam—mostly empty, I noticed. He took a slug, threw back his head and gargled, swallowed, then shook his head like a dog that’s wet and said, “Ah, that’s better!”
“Well, this is not!” I said. I had totally forgotten about the framed article, which was still outside the door. “It’s an eviction notice.”
“Oh, Jimmy G thought he heard someone at the door early this morning,” he said.
Jimmy G always talked about himself in the third person.
“Well, you have plenty of time to get caught up,” I said. “This three-day notice is usually just a warning. As long as you catch up on your rent within three days, they won’t proceed with the eviction.” I know something about the real estate business because I worked as a stager before the housing market crashed. That’s when I applied for and got the job working for Jimmy G. I took it on a lark, thinking it would do until I found something else, but six weeks later, I was hooked. It turns out my careful observation skills are totally useful. And my dog is in seventh heaven. Apparently Pepe has always dreamed of being a PI.
“No can do, doll,” Jimmy G said. “Jimmy G is a little low on the moola.”
“What happened to all the money you made on our last case?” I asked. I had been able to catch up on my mortgage payments and had made an appointment with a financial planner to determine how to invest the rest.
Jimmy G shrugged. “Owed some money to the wrong kind of guys. If Jimmy G hadn’t paid up, he woulda been sleeping with the fishes.”
“I told you, Geri,” said Pepe. “We should start our own agency.”
“Hush,” I told him. “I need to get trained by a licensed PI.”
“Speaking of that,” said Jimmy G, “I just got a notice about renewing the agency license, too.” He began tossing the papers on his desk around. “It’s around here somewhere.”
“You need to take care of these bills,” I said.
“That’s why I have a gal Friday,” he said.
“How many times do I have to tell you: I am not a girl Friday.”
“Administrative assistant?” asked Jimmy G with pathos in his voice.
I have to admit the politically correct term sounded ridiculous when he said it.
“Not that either. I am a private investigator in training,” I said. “And we have to clear up these bills so we can keep the agency going.” Which reminded me about the framed clipping I had left out in the hall. I went to get it and propped it up on one of the little wooden chairs across from Jimmy G’s desk that were there for prospective clients. “Especially since the agency is in the news.”
“Speaking of which, that’s how Jimmy G got his new case,” said Jimmy G.
“The one for me and Geri?” Pepe asked.
“The one for me and Pepe?” I asked.
“Yes, that one. The client read about our last case in the newspaper and called up Jimmy G.”
“So who’s the client?”
“A man named Mark Darling. His wife has joined a cult and she won’t respond to his phone calls or messages. He wants us to get her out.”
“Why us?” I asked.
“Because it has to do with a dog,” said Jimmy G, beaming.
“Really?” Pepe’s ears pricked up at that.
It’s true we had solved our last case, which had to do with a dog, but again, it wasn’t really on purpose. It was more like we created enough havoc so that we got the results we wanted by accident.
“I hope it involves a bitch,” said Pepe.
I was about to chide him when I realized he meant a female dog.
“With a strong aroma and luscious fur,” said Pepe.
“I thought Siren Song was the one for you,” I told him. Siren Song was an attractive golden Pomeranian. Unfortunately, she was now in Hollywood with her owner, and Pepe’s heart was aching.
, Siren Song is the first in my heart,” said Pepe. “But a dog’s heart is big.”
“Siren Song?” Jimmy G asked. “No, the dog’s name is Dogawanda. Have you heard of him?”
“Sure,” I said.
“I have not,” said Pepe.
“He’s an ancient dog who speaks through a channeler, a woman by the name of Crystal Star. He has quite a following,” I told Pepe.
“Crazy folks!” said Jimmy G, shaking his head.
“Not so loco,” said Pepe. “I think all humans could learn much by listening to dogs. I would like to have a following myself.”
“So what do you want me to do?” I asked Jimmy G.
“First you have to meet with this Mark Darling. But the idea is for you to go undercover in the group. Try to make contact with the woman. Deliver her husband’s message. Should be simple.” Jimmy G rolled his eyes. “Unless you fall for their line of BS.”
“Don’t worry, boss,” I said. “I’m too smart to fall under the spell of a dog.”
“Ha!” said Pepe. “That is sarcasm!”