About the Book
Book: Mabel Goes to the Dogs
Author: Susan Kimmel Wright
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Release date: June 5, 2022
Mabel plans to bring the thrills of volunteering to the masses—if she doesn’t go to the dogs first.
When Mabel finds herself sharing a thicket with a dead body while volunteering with canine search-&-rescue, her life has clearly—once again—gone to the dogs!
After her losing her job at age forty-nine, Mabel thought she’d turned things around. Now she’s doing good by volunteering, and surely, she’ll soon be a successful author, writing about her experiences. After solving two notorious decades-old cold cases while serving as a historical society volunteer, she’s already getting invitations to appear on TV.
Her new assignment couldn’t be simpler. All she has to do is hide in the woods and let Millie the search dog practice finding her. But to her horror, Millie finds more than Mabel—there’s a dead body hiding in the same patch of brush. To make things worse, Mabel’s maybe-boyfriend, suspended PI John Bigelow, has a dark history with the victim.
While struggling with maid-of-honor duties for best friend Lisa, a string of disasters created by handyman Acey, and a disagreeable new neighbor, can Mabel solve another murder in time to save John’s detective license—if not his neck?
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About the Author
Susan Kimmel Wright is a child of the Appalachian Mountains. A former lawyer, Susan has published three children’s mystery novels and is a prolific contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Mabel Goes to the Dogs, Book Two in Mysteries of Medicine Spring, her first cozy mystery series for adult readers, is now available from Mountain Brook Ink. Susan shares an 1875 farmhouse in southwestern PA with her husband, several dogs and cats, and an allegedly excessive stockpile of coffee and tea mugs.
More from Susan
A bit about Mabel and how she got herself into this situation…
One of the great joys of writing this series has been the wonderful reaction my main character Mabel has gotten from so many readers. Typical comments are: “I love how quirky and imperfect Mabel is…Mabel is a fun character with a big heart who has the best of intentions.” (I also hear “hilarious” a lot… 😉)
Mabel is fifty, and her entire life has just unceremoniously changed. For the past twenty-three years, she’s had a job as a low-level attorney in a law firm. Boring, yes, but every day, she knew where she was going, what she was doing, and when and how much she was going to get paid. But suddenly, she gets the ax, and her old life is over. Blessed with a severance package from her former employer, as well as an inheritance from her grandma (also named Mabel) that includes a cluttered Victorian house in the town of Medicine Spring, Mabel resolves to reinvent herself. She will do good by volunteering while building a glamorous new career as a writer.
Many readers have told me they see themselves in Mabel. As one reviewer said, “She’s a bundle of insecurities ironclad in over self-confidence and I can relate to that!” And I guess I do too! While Mabel is certainly a product of my imagination, she also reflects a bit of me. I left my job as a lawyer after about twenty years too (though I didn’t “get the ax!). I also live in a somewhat ramshackle Victorian farmhouse with a bunch of animals, and I see many of Mabel’s insecurities in myself. (Not to mention Mabel’s love of food—writing about Mabel’s diet gives me the opportunity to indulge in all the yummy things I try to limit in real life!)
Of course, nothing goes according to Mabel’s master plan. Mabel knows little about writing, her new old house is stuffed to the rafters with her grandma’s accumulations and comes with a hostile neighbor bent on continuing a decades’ old feud, and her first volunteer endeavor comes complete with a dead body. On the plus side, Mabel and her cat Koi acquire a new family member—Grandma Mabel’s big dog Barnacle, and Mabel seems also to have acquired a possible boyfriend, suspended PI John Bigelow.
By the time we run into Mabel in Mabel Goes to the Dogs, she has stumbled through two homicide investigations and also discovered the solution to an eighty-year-old cold case—the ax murder of a father and son in a neighboring historic house. This has gotten her an invitation to appear on a local morning TV show—and little else. Then Mabel undertakes a new volunteer assignment, helping train search-and-rescue dogs. The discovery of yet another body makes her wonder if she’s somehow bringing this on herself. Boyfriend John assures her, “You’re not causing dead bodies with the power of your mind, you goof.” Mabel isn’t so sure. Nobody else seems to be having this problem.
At least, life is now far from boring in the village of Medicine Spring…
Interview with Susan
Share something readers wouldn’t know about you.
While I often describe myself as a child of the Appalachian Mountains, many readers may not understand what I mean. I grew up in the Laurel Highlands of southwestern Pennsylvania, in a small house my carpenter father built with his own hands after returning from WWII. Our water came from a spring in the woods, so when droughts came, we had to use an outhouse instead of our bathroom. (I hated this, by the way!)
We raised pigs, and my dad hunted. Yes, we ate squirrel and rabbit, as well as foraged dandelion, wild berries, and morel mushrooms, and drank sassafras tea when we were sick. My mom, a farmer’s daughter, cooked on a wood-burning stove that occupied fully half the tiny kitchen. She used rendered fat from the skillet to make her own laundry soap and wove rugs out of rags.
I ran barefoot all summer. I started first grade at age five, because we had no kindergarten. (I’m not sure whether I cried harder over leaving my mother or having to put on shoes!) All twelve grades of our school district occupied the same building. We all knew each other, and most of us were somehow related. Many of my friends’ dads came home from working in the mines, only eyes and mouths showing through the black coal dust, and they had to undress and wash in the basement before coming upstairs.
I could write a book on a childhood that’s mostly vanished today, but for now, I’ll just say I’m grateful to have been there. It’s made me who I am today.
Describe yourself in three words.
Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn… no, wait! Stubborn, kind, and whimsical.
What book is currently on your bedtime table?
Madam, Will You Talk? by the late, great British author of romantic suspense, Mary Stewart. This is a re-read of one of my favorites. I first discovered her in my early teens with The Moon Spinners and quickly devoured them all. Stewart had a brilliant gift for setting, and she took me to Greece long before I set foot there (a lifelong dream, specifically given birth at my first reading of The Moon Spinners). She had the most incredibly deft hand at mystery and throat-grabbing suspense, and her romances still make me sigh.
What is your favorite part of the publishing journey?
Without question, it’s my readers. I so love hearing from readers who stayed up all night to finish my book in one sitting (even if they had to move to the couch or spare room so as not to bother their husbands), and those who’ve already re-read both books plus the prequel. Considering all the books that are available out there, I can’t help feeling enormously humbled and grateful anyone chooses to read mine, let alone two—or more—times. My heart swells every time somebody tells me they laughed so hard that they had to read that part out loud to their spouse, who thought they were taking a fit. Or when they say they love Mabel’s imperfections and see themselves in her. There is absolutely no award, no amount of money, no honor that could ever mean more to me than knowing Mabel and I have brought comfort and laughter to someone who needed it.
Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart?
Mabel, without a doubt. While she has many stellar qualities, including a sharp mind and a kind heart, she couldn’t be further from ideal heroines like Nancy Drew and Charlie’s Angels, who were all beautiful, seemingly adept at everything they put their hands to, and always pulled-together. One reader described Mabel as “a bundle of insecurities ironclad in over self-confidence—and I can relate to that!” Mabel first appears in Book One, shortly after having been fired from her job at age 49.9. Unmarried, admittedly a bit overweight, and dealing with an inherited house that’s a mess, Mabel nevertheless resolves to reinvent herself. To be sure, hilarity and homicide follow—but so do new friends, a new romance, and a new career. Another reader said, “She is imperfect like the rest of us.” I hope readers continue to see a bit of themselves in Mabel—as I do—and are encouraged to keep going and keep looking for adventure, fulfillment, and ways to bless others.
Links: Please visit https://www.susankimmelwright.com and subscribe to my newsletter for news, fun, and giveaways! Also find me on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/SKimmelWright/, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SusanKimmelWrightWriter/ and Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/susankimmelwrights/
Current Work in Progress: Mabel & the Little Green Men. I am having so much fun with this one! Mabel is driving on a deserted stretch of road, coming home from a late meeting, when a brilliant light descends from the sky to surround her car, which seemingly goes dead. Has she been visited by a flying saucer? Though Mabel manages to escape, the incident haunts her, and she searches for answers as UFO fever takes over the small village of Medicine Spring, and the film crew of TV’s most popular paranormal series comes to the investigate the notorious purported flying saucer crash of 1958 in Miller’s Woods. If that weren’t enough, Mabel also finds herself stuck in the middle between two warring candidates for town supervisor, both of whose relatives demand her campaign support. Meanwhile, Mabel struggles to plan a bridal shower for best friend Lisa, deal with a hostile neighbor, and figure out how to remove skunk stench from both her dog Barnacle and herself. Then, the first dead body appears…
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deb’s Book Review, September 13
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Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 15
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 16
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 17
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 18
Blogging With Carol, September 19
For Him and My Family, September 20
Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 21 (Author Interview)
Mary Hake, September 21
To celebrate her tour, Susan is giving away the grand prize package of $50 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of Mabel Goes to the Dogs!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.