Posted by: nancycurteman | December 2, 2018

5 Ways to Use Animals in a Mystery Novel

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Animals can play a variety of roles in a mystery novel, some important, others less so. Here are 5 ways authors can use animals to enhance their stories.

1.Rescue a main or secondary character. In one of my novels a German shepherd saves a teenage girl from a couple of would be kidnappers by growling and biting one of them in the foot. Any size dog could alert a character about an intruder by barking up a storm

2. Refine setting.A fat, lazy cat sprawled on the back of doily covered couch will add to the look of an elderly lady’s living room. On the other hand, a vicious hound baring its teeth, barking and growling as it strains at the end of a rope tied to the bumper of a broken-down car certainly says something about the setting.

3. Solve a crime. A dog could aid a sleuth in investigating or solving a crime using its superior sense of smell. It could discover a hidden body or track a criminal. It could even locate a missing person.

4. Add humor. There’s nothing like a feisty, arrogant, ungrateful cat to add humorous scenes to a novel. It may lie quietly purring on a character’s lap and the next moment bite him then race off. How about an amorous dog that jumps on a character and soaks his face with sloppy dog kisses or worse, tries to hump a character’s leg. Consider an alcoholic cat or a sassy parrot.

5. Expose character.We can certainly say a lot about the values of a character by the way he treats animals. The character who mistreats animals will present a different image to a reader than the one who treats them with affection and kindness.

Animals can indeed enhance a mystery novel.

More Tips:

Can Dogs Play a Role in Mystery Novels?


  1. I’ve not used animals in my writing, even though I adore them. This post gave me lots to think about! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • In my novels animals play both significant and minor roles. It’s just fun to add them where possible.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You should! Animals in novels are always fun. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marc-André, I agree with you. I include animals in most of my novels.


      • Novels with animals have always been my favourites. 🙂


      • Agree!

        Liked by 1 person

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