Why My Pet Psychic Animals Will Never Talk
Okay. I can think of one instance that I would use for humor, but if I ever go with it, it will be the only instance. Why am I so against talking animals?
It would be too easy.
Imagine if Sandy the Golden Retriever had simply said I witnessed the murder. Here’s what happened. Call me if you need details. The mystery in Barking Mad at Murder would have ended in the second chapter. I like to think of how something would look from the animal’s perspective and then find a way for the animal to present the information to Frankie in a way that makes it a puzzle for her to figure out.
I’d have to kill off the animals.
Before you call the Human Society, think about it. In a mystery or thriller where there is a witness, they always get bumped off so the police can scratch their heads and wonder what bit of information the victim wanted to pass on to them. Usually this happens after the witness lets something slip, and when pressed to reveal what he or she knows, the response is, “I’ve got to think about it.”
Or else the witness spends the entire book running for their lives.
It would be maddening.
If you recall a mystery where the witness didn’t speak up, you, as the reader, most likely spent your time wondering why didn’t they just say so?
Prunella sees her abusive sister-in-law with a bloody axe and thinks to herself Maybe she was just killing chickens. I wouldn’t want to get anyone into trouble. Even when her brother-in-law’s body is discovered chopped into little pieces, our heroine still holds her tongue. You, the reader, pull your hair and scream, “Why, why, why??? Why didn’t she just say something?” Then, when S-I-L gets the idea to bump off Prunella (see #2 above) we’re rooting for her to succeed.
When I interviewed pet communicator Ben Scaglia, he told me that only once had an animal talked to him. It creeped him out. I admit this holds possibilities, and so does a miniature Yorkie who speaks like Nick Charles of The Thin Man, but I am afraid the joke would wear thin long before the book ended.
I know there are authors who can carry this off. To talk or not to talk. What’s your preference?
Jacqueline Vick’s short fiction has appeared in Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine, Orchard Press Mysteries, Cantaraville II, and The Best of Everyday Fiction Two Anthology. Her April 2010 article for Fido Friendly Magazine, “Calling Canine Clairvoyants”, led to the Frankie Chandler Pet Psychic mystery, Barking Mad About Murder. She has a second Frankie Chandler novel, A Bird’s Eye View of Murder, and is working on the third. She currently resides in Southern California with her husband and Buster the Wonderdog. Find out more at her website, www.jacquelinevick.com or her Amazon author page at http://amzn.to/1UHxMJh .
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