Monday, December 11, 2023

Mudpie Interviews...Bailey from Kallie E. Benjamin's Bailey the Bloodhound Mystery Series


When a murder unleashes a widespread investigation through Crosbyville, children’s book author Pris and her trusty bloodhound, Bailey, must sniff out the truth before the whole town goes to the dogs.

After deciding that life as a teacher wasn’t right for her, Priscilla found inspiration for her first children’s book in her three-year-old bloodhound’s nose for truth, and so The Adventures of Bailey the Bloodhound was born. After the book’s massively pawsitive response led Pris to move back to her hometown of Crosbyville, Indiana, to continue the series, she’s surprised by how things have changed in the town, but even more so how they haven’t.

Pris is frustrated to discover that newly elected school board trustee Whitney Kelley—a former high school mean girl—is intent on making Crosbyville more competitive by eliminating “frivolous spending” on the arts and social programs, including Pris and Bailey’s beloved pet-assisted reading program. A minor altercation between them isn’t anything unusual, but after Bailey sniffs out Whitney’s body in a bed of begonias, locals start hounding Pris and Bailey as suspects for the crime.

With Bailey’s sharp senses and Pris’s hometown know-how, can they prove to the community that they’re all barking up the wrong tree?

Mudpie was very excited to have the opportunity to interview Bailey, the canine star of this series. We hope you enjoy learning more about him!

Welcome, Bailey! Thank you so much for chatting with me today. Could you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you came to live with Pris?

Hello, Mudpie. Thank you for the invitation. As you know, my name is Bailey, and I’m a bloodhound. Bloodhounds are scent hounds. Humans believe that bloodhounds descended from hounds that were bred by monks in Belgium at the Abbey of Saint Hubert. But, that was such a long time ago, that no one can really be sure, and I don’t speak French. They say we were originally bred to hunt deer, wild boar, and rabbits. However, our superior tracking ability demonstrated that we were far more valuable in tracking people. Since the Middle Ages, bloodhounds have been used to track lost or missing people and escaped prisoners.

Anyway, I’ve been with my human, Priscilla Cummings, for three years. She was an elementary school teacher, and I could tell immediately that she was lonely. Teaching little humans is a lot of work and I don’t think everyone appreciates everything that teachers do. Well, it didn’t take long for Pris to see that I’m really good at finding things. When it comes to finding lost items, I’m at the top of the pack. Pris was inspired to write a children’s book featuring me. It’s called The Adventures of Bailey the Bloodhound, Pet Detective. Of course, it has been highly successful. The kids love me. 

What's a typical day like for you? 

Pris and I went through a lot of training (mostly for her benefit. I caught on quickly). Afterward, I got a special vest. Pris says it’s my working vest. When she puts it on me, I have to focus on finding whatever human has wandered off. She calls that Search and Rescue. Sometimes, I go to school and listen while the young humans read to me. Pris said that’s called Pet Assisted Therapy. Other times, we go to hospitals or libraries and put on demonstrations. When we’re done, I get a special treat. It’s a good job and I enjoy it, especially because I get to spend more time with Pris. 

It must be exciting to be the star of a series of children's books! How did that come about? 

The life of a bloodhound is quite interesting. There are so many amazing scents out there, but humans can’t smell them. They’ll just walk right by unless you stop them. I’ve found lots of great stuff that people have misplaced. Sometimes, I have to dig it up to get to it, but uncovering buried treasure is no problem at all for me (I’m a great digger). One day, Pris noticed that I had uncovered a lot of lost items. That’s when she started writing it down. She made it into a story and sent it to a woman she calls a literary agent. The next thing you know, kids were coming up to me and calling me, Bailey the Bloodhound, Pet Detective. Some kids want pictures. Most of them just like pulling on my ears. It’s tough, but thanks to me, Pris is going to be able to quit her job and write about me full-time. So, that’s cool. Plus, whenever she gets something called a royalty check, she buys me expensive liver treats. 

And now you're also the star of a mystery series too! Tell us about Sniffing Out Murder

One day, Pris and I were having our morning constitutional through the park, when I got hold of a scent. It was the scent of a woman I’d met the previous day. She wasn’t a very nice lady. She yelled at Pris and said some unkind things about me, too. If I weren’t such a good boy, I would have loved to have taken a bite out of her, but I didn’t. Not even when she deliberately stepped on my tail. Although, I did turn and give her a piece of my mind. I’ve discovered that humans don’t speak canine, so I growled and showed my teeth so she would know that I wasn’t happy. Anyway, we were walking through the park and I picked up her scent. I followed it to a begonia bed. She wasn’t a nice lady, but I don’t hold grudges. I let bygones be bygones and I dug and dug until I was able to pull out her shoe and show it to Pris. If it hadn’t been for me, no one might ever have found the lady. I haven’t heard anyone mention anything about a medal, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave me one for finding her. 

Do you use your talents as a bloodhound to help Pris solve the murder? 

Absolutely. In fact, because of my exceptional ability to distinguish scents, I was able to find several important clues that helped Pris figure out Whodunit. 

What are some of your favorite things to do when you're not sleuthing? (Toys, treats, nap spots...) 

When I’m not solving mysteries, I love to eat, take naps, and lay on the floor while my human rubs my tummy. I like to listen to stories, too. I enjoy it when the little humans read to me. But my most favorite thing to do is to follow scents. We moved into a new house and there are some new critters that like to roam across the yard. There’s one impudent little squirrel that I’ve been trying to meet, but he just tosses nuts on my head and climbs higher up in the tree, but one day. . .

Can you give us any clues as to what's next for you? 

The human who writes about Pris and me, Kallie E. Benjamin, is working on another adventure of ours. There was a festival in the town where we live, Crosbyville, Indiana. The festival is on the estate of a wealthy man. Well, I can’t tell you everything that happens, yet. However, I can tell you that I play a very important role in figuring out this mystery, too.


About the Author:

Kallie E. Benjamin (Valerie Burns) is the author of the Bailey the Bloodhound Mystery series. The first book, Sniffing Out Murder releases on December 5, 2023. Valerie is an Agatha, Anthony, Edgar, and Next Generation Indie Book Award finalist. Writing as V. M. Burns she is the author of the Mystery Bookshop Mystery, Dog Club Mystery, and RJ Franklin Mystery series. Writing as Valerie Burns, she is the author of the Baker Street Mystery series. Valerie is also an adjunct professor in the Writing Popular Fiction Program at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. Born and raised in northwestern Indiana, Valerie now lives in Northern Georgia with her two poodles.

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Lynn and Precious said...

Mudpie, as usual you do a very good book report. Thank you. And puppy dogs are always a welcome friend.

Brian's Home Blog said...

That sure looks like a really good book and we enjoyed your fun interview sweet Mudpie!

pilch92 said...

Great interview Miss Mudpie. I missed these. Looks like a fun series. XO

kellymfowler said...

Great interview, Mudpie! Thanks so much for letting everyone know what a fun and imaginative series this is!

Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat said...

We loved meeting Bailey!

CCL Wendy said...

There you go, Mudpie! You should give your folks Bailey's contact info now, in case you ever get lost. He's a good friend to have. I'd keep him.

meowmeowmans said...

What a great interview, Mudpie. Bailey seems like an awesome dog, and you are a wonderful and insightful interviewer!

Ariel Wilson said...

What a Great Interview. I like to. I wish you take an interview with the snr professional academic writer and ask how they find if someone asked to send dissertation topics because this will help the beginner writer to research and their save time