How Being a Veterinarian’s Wife Inspired my Mysteries — Margaret Mizushima

Today I am excited to welcome author Margaret Mizushima as she shares insights into inspiration for her most recent series.

I’ve been married to a vet for thirty-five years, during which we’ve had countless family-time interruptions while my husband, Charlie, goes off to cover emergencies. Actually, it all started on our first date when we had to box up our dinner at a restaurant so that he could respond to such a call, an owner asking him to suture a horribly maimed pony that had been attacked by a dog. I rode along with him and held the flashlight while he stitched the poor little horse back together. If that didn’t scare me away, I guess nothing will. (By the way, that pony survived.)


Even holidays haven’t been spared from interruption. One Christmas, our adult daughter brought her boyfriend home to meet us. True to form, my husband got an emergency call from a client with a pregnant bulldog that needed a C-section delivery. We all trooped up the road to Charlie’s clinic to help. After delivering the puppies one by one, he handed each of us a wriggling, wet baby, which we wrapped in towels and rubbed vigorously to stimulate breathing. My daughter’s friend said it was one of the most memorable Christmases he’d ever had. For us, it was par for the course.


Through the years, I’ve stored these memories, and when I decided to write a mystery, I knew that one of the characters had to be a vet. In real life, however, vets may solve medical mysteries, but rarely—or perhaps I should say almost never—are they involved in murder mysteries.


One day, my husband returned from his clinic for lunch and told me that one of his clients, a police officer who trained patrol and protection dogs, mentioned that forest rangers were starting to use narcotics detection dogs to impede drug trafficking through the national forests. This led me to the idea for a premise for my mystery series: a rural sheriff’s department sets up a new K-9 unit to combat drug traffic through a mountain community in Colorado.


I decided that a veterinarian and a K-9 handler could make an interesting crime fighting duo—trio if you count the dog, and dogs should always count. Soon three characters came to life inside my imagination: Deputy Mattie Cobb, her dog Robo, and Cole Walker, DVM. Cole is a newly divorced, workaholic whose wife left him to raise their two daughters. He faces a sharp learning curve while learning to be a single parent as he struggles to keep up with his busy practice. When his daughter’s friend is murdered, Deputy Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner, Robo, come into their lives. Mattie and Robo investigate the crime as they try to track down the girl’s killer in the first book of the series, KILLING TRAIL.


In the second book, STALKING GROUND, Mattie and Robo search for a missing woman, finding her body high in the wilderness area just as the first snowfall of the season hits. Since they must guard the gravesite overnight, Cole takes up supplies to protect them from the blizzard. But as the investigation heats up and clues lead them from one suspect to another, all three of them eventually find themselves trapped in a killer’s stalking ground.


My life as a vet’s wife may have inspired the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series, but the books also feature plenty of law enforcement and K-9 work. Thanks to my husband and several K-9 handlers who’ve agreed to act as consultants, I have the information needed to keep the law enforcement and vet work real while I spin tales of murder and mayhem. I invite you to join me in these adventures.


About Margaret:


Margaret Mizushima is the author of the Timber Creek K-9 mystery series, which includes Killing Trail (Crooked Lane Books, 2015) and Stalking Ground (Crooked Lane Books, 2016). She has a background in speech pathology and practiced in an acute care hospital before establishing her own rehabilitation agency. Currently, she balances writing with assisting her husband with their veterinary clinic and Angus cattle herd. She enjoys reading and hiking, and she lives on a small ranch in Colorado where she and her husband raised two daughters and a multitude of animals. She can be found on Facebook/Author Margaret Mizushima, on Twitter @margmizu, and on her website at


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