Pet Spotlight: Linda O. Johnston

Linda O. Johnston_dogs

I’d like to introduce you to my two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Lexie and Mystie. They’ve owned me for a while and have me very well trained.

Oh, you mean I’m supposed to train them? Maybe so. But since I’m now a full-time writer and am home a lot of the time, I’ve gotten used to their demands for attention, including wanting to go out, to play, and to get treats and lots and lots of hugs. They’re Cavaliers, after all.

I’ve had Cavaliers for many years. I saw one on the Underground on my first trip to London and immediately fell in love. I came back to the U.S. and researched them. At the time they were very rare here. I lived in Pittsburgh then and was fortunate enough to communicate with a breeder who was coming to a dog show in Ohio. I went to the show and met my first Cavalier puppy, Panda (short for Pandaemonium), whom I brought home with me. The rest is my history. I remained in love and have had Cavaliers ever since.

When we met, my dear husband Fred had to make friends with Panda–not an easy task, male to male. Since then, Fred has accepted more Cavaliers into our lives and loves them, too. But don’t ask him to admit that.

Lexie helped me write my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries–my very first cozy mystery series. Kendra is a lawyer, as I am, although I’m currently inactive. She lives in the Hollywood Hills, as I do. She also owns a tricolor Cavalier whose name, coincidentally, is Lexie. They’re both sweethearts. Of course.

Mystie is about five years younger than Lexie. She’s the coloration known as Blenheim–auburn and white. She’s a nutcase–an adorable one. She loves reflections, sunbeams and games with squeaky toys.

Cavaliers were born to be lapdogs, by the way. They are indirect descendants of the little spaniels held by courtiers in the Old Masters paintings from the time of King Charles II of England. Why were they lapdogs then? Often to attract fleas away from the people holding them.

Lost Under a Ladder_Pluckie logoDo my pups attract fleas? Not if I can help it! But I do find myself carrying my dogs around sometimes. Lexie has had vestibular disease and is slightly off-center, so although she goes up and down the steps to our backyard fairly well these days I sometimes help. And with Mystie? She is a spaniel, after all, and considers herself a bird dog. When she chases birds in our yard, I sometimes have to go remind her she can’t fly.

I love all dogs, by the way. But Cavaliers? They’re special!


All of Linda O. Johnston’s cozy mystery series have involved dogs. She is the author of the Pet-Sitter Mysteries and the Pet Rescue Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime.

Linda is delighted that her new cozy series, the Superstition Mysteries for Midnight Ink, also involves dogs, mostly lucky ones. It takes place in the town of Destiny, California, where her protagonist runs the Lucky Dog Boutique and solves mysteries.

Linda also writes romances for Harlequin, including the Alpha Force paranormal miniseries for Nocturne about a covert military unit of shapeshifters–yes, mostly canines.

And watch for another cozy series by Linda for Midnight Ink, the Barkery and Biscuits mysteries featuring murders centered around–you’ve got it!–a bakery/barkery for dog treats.