It's a Mystery Podcast
Talking to Animals and Solving Crime with Kathy Manos Penn
Jun 15, 2020 · 29 min
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A dog, a cat and an anglophile walk into an English pub...

In her amateur sleuth, Leta Parker, Kathy Manos Penn has created a character that many of us will envy. Leta not only talks to her miniature Great Pyrenees and her cat...they talk back. But why stop there? Add Leta's friend Wendy and her mum into the mix and you've got a recipe for delightful cozy mysteries set in the Cotswolds.

Like her heroine, Kathy is an Anglophile and in our interview we discuss her trips to England and how her stay in the Cotswolds inspired the Dickens & Christie mysteries.

In the introduction I mention my love for books that feature animals and how much one of the creative events in The 101 Dalmatians still affects me to this day.

This week's mystery author

As a child, Kathy Manos Penn was a shy, introverted bookworm. She shed the shy, introverted traits but is a bookworm to this day, one who especially enjoys British mysteries.

Fast forward through a corporate career and a side job as a newspaper columnist, and today you’ll find her happily retired and writing cozy animal mysteries set in—where else—England.

To learn more about Kathy and all her books visit KathyManosPenn.com

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher, Android, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, and Spotify.

Excerpt from Bells, Tails and Murder

CHAPTER ONE

Early April

I couldn’t believe I’d let Henry talk me into cycling up this hill yet another Saturday. Sure, I improved each time I tackled it, but I could barely keep my bicycle upright. I was in the lowest gear and still, the pedals didn’t want to go ‘round. Thank goodness it was the last leg of the day, and there’d be a cold beer at the end. 

I much preferred the first part of our ride, the flat portion along the scenic Chattahoochee River, where I’d glimpse geese, fishermen, and canoes. Often, the Georgia State Rowing Club would be out in force. All would be well until we came to the dreaded stop sign, where we turned left and started uphill. 

 “I’ll see you at the top, but if you don’t make it by dark, I’ll send out a search party,” Henry sang out as he powered past me in his blue cycling jersey. With his slender 6’2” frame and long legs, my husband made the uphill climb look easy. 

I stuck my tongue out and replied, “By dark, my foot. I’ll be there in 30 minutes, and my chicken wings and ice-cold beer better be on the table.” I sometimes thought the promised lunch at Taco Mac was the only thing that kept me coming back every Saturday. 

Head down, I was praying I’d soon be at the peak where the road would level out when a car horn blew behind me accompanied by the blaring of a radio. Lord,  I thought, I hate horns, and there’s plenty of room for whoever it is to pass me on this road without scaring the heck out of me. 

As the red Mercedes convertible shot past, I glanced up in time to see the blonde, pony-tailed driver bebopping to the music. The car took the curve and vanished from sight, and I pedaled on. The next sequence of sounds was one that haunted my dreams—the long blast of a car horn, the squealing of tires, and the screech of rending metal, followed by silence. 

Without thinking, I threw down my bike and jogged up the hill. When I reached the top, my worst fears were confirmed. Henry lay unmoving, with  another cyclist administering CPR, a jogger checking on the driver of the Mercedes, and another frantically conversing with 911 on her cell phone. 

*** 

September the following year

Neither my waking nor sleeping dreams ever progressed beyond this point. I came back to the present and realized I was standing on the flower-flanked path to my Cotswolds cottage, its golden stone luminescent in the sunlight. Shake it off, girl, I said to myself as I wiped tears from my eyes. This is your new life,
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