Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Richard Audry Stumps This Mystery Lover in Debut Canine Cozy!

The legendary swedish/danish warrior king Hara...
The legendary swedish/danish warrior king Harald Hildetann (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
King Harald proceeded up Willow Street with regal bearing.



Monarch of all he surveyed.

Up above, the maples and lindens had budded out, promising a summer’s worth of delicious shade. Harald stopped at almost every trunk, sniffed robustly, and—discreetly here and there—lifted a leg to add his own signature to the others.

The huge, ginger-colored canine was of unknown provenance. Part Chesapeake, from his looks. But the other part remained a mystery. Some folks in New Bergen joked that a moose must have had a romantic tryst with one of Harald’s forebears.
The Karma of King Harald
  A Canine Cozy

By Richard Audry

This is the debut novel for King Harald...And readers of cozy mysteries naturally assume that this is going to be a series... Why not? I'm looking forward to that and maybe King Harald will visit Book Readers Heaven one day. He certainly does have the nose for sniffing out bodies--except that one time when the rabbit actually saved the day!


Not that long ago, 
Harald had been a down-on-his-luck
adult dog, left at an animal shelter
by a family that couldn’t afford him
anymore. But then one day
the boss walked in through
the shelter’s doors. 
Harald knew instantly that this
was the human for him and he made
sure he got noticed. 
There was much tail-wagging,
but no slobbery jumping up on. 
His sales pitch had been perfect and
Harald departed with the boss 
that very same day.

Now the only clue about learning more about King Harald was to discover that there has been a long line of human kings by the same name...so is that a positive or negative thing that this mixed breed was named after royalty? In any event, we do know that he's smart enough to have been able to play the correct role while waiting in the animal shelter to gain the attention of a young man. Sure he felt bad about leaving the other guys, but he had been playing to win the game! And to continue, he immediately began to call him Boss! Sure, I know that the boss doesn't know that, but don't you think that it made a difference in how dog and master interacted thereafter?


He really is a good dog, except where it comes to staying in his own yard! What that meant for Harald was that he was known and generally liked by everybody in town and, often, they would help to get him home, back into the yard, whose fence he could easily jump...LOL...

What that also meant was he had found the first body...and sat down beside the woman he'd known, and howled until somebody came! And then, there was that time, he smelled the smoke...

In my opinion, this mystery is much more complex and involved than many cozies, which gave me ample time to think that the author was creating a wonderful small-town setting and was offering many potential "guilty" options...so much so that I totally missed whodunit! Thank you for stumping this mystery fan!

On the other hand, each and every potential culprit did deserve some punishment in my opinion! Whew! This little town has no willingness to consider individuals who do not think and believe like the town members...

Especially about religions...

Early tulips were nearly ready to bloom, and Asiatic lilies and peonies had poked up amidst the dirt beds scattered throughout the long grass. Lilacs and apple trees were starting to show nubbins of flower buds. The pin maples were bright and crisp and lovely to sniff. And glittering, dancing baubles of color dangled from their branches.

Harald was no ponderer, but the spectacle delighted him and held his attention for better than fifteen seconds. Until the most interesting, most enchanting aroma hit the 220 million smell receptor cells tucked way back up his substantial snout. Hit them like a Mack truck without brakes. The smell came from just overthere.

He bounded across two tulip beds—leaving disorder in his wake—and, as if sliding into home base, came to a quick stop under a flowering crab apple tree. He peered up at the most marvelous thing he had seen in, well, forty seconds.

There, dangling from a low branch, was the item that had called to him with an allure that was not to be denied. An object whose complex bouquet of scents would have challenged the vocabulary of an Elizabethan poet to describe—had the poet possessed 220 million smell receptor cells.

King Harald stared thunderstruck at the object that moved gently in the morning breeze, inhaling deeply through his nostrils.

He reared up on his hind legs, bracing himself against the crab apple trunk. With a certain reverence, he twisted himself around and began to gently prize the pretty, pretty thing from the string that suspended it among the glittering baubles.


Trudie Bock and Andy Skyberg had once had a hot romance during their college days. Now Andy was back home in New Bergen and somehow Trudie shows up there years later and started her own business. She claimed that she didn't know Andy was living there...

Trudie had married well...several times...so when she came she was loaded! First she bought a large farm that had been owned by a local family, but left to only two of the siblings...The third wanted it and was constantly after Trudie to sell, even though her parents had not wanted the property to be changed for profit...

The second thing she did was create a mystical shop that contained all sorts of satan-worship things   (according to many), so members of one of the churches was constantly picketing the shop and trying to get her to leave town...and on and on she went, making enemies left and right... So the town was making waves, hoping she would be forced to leave! First they killed her pet iguana and left a threatening note that she would be next... Then the woman who worked with her was the one that Harold had discovered...Then the shop was burned down, and one of her employees who lived in the basement (few knew he was there) was killed in the fire...and on and on...

Now would she leave?

Andy's sister had a restaurant next door and Andy works with her as well as a painter of the beautiful scenes around the town. Of course since the canine belongs to Andy, he takes the brunt of suspicion on everything from the police officers...Then there is another friend of his that has gotten in trouble with the Feds...

This story reminded me of the little town that housed the mystery writer in Murder She Wrote...but...with a twist...LOL I could picture Betty White from the Golden Girls living here...because the town also sounded like the ethnic town from where she came, with all of its special foods and stories about the residents. In other words, there is an underlying humorous thread that kept me highly involved throughout. You don't normally find yourself quickly turning pages for a cozy, but the mystery certainly was entertaining, while being complex. The author threw us a surprise ending that you "might" have picked up, only if you are very clever...LOL A true mystery lover test! Let me know if you chose correctly from the persons of interest!
Highly recommended, especially for the fun of it!


About the Author

Richard Audry is the pen name of Dr. R. Martin, a writer with over 1500 credits in fields as diverse as music journalism, trade-press journalism, book reviewing, marketing and advertising, medical writing, and TV script writing. He is an award-winning copywriter, the former editor of a weekly newspaper, and a semi-pro photographer. The Karma of King Harald is his third mystery and first cozy.

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