Guy Ritchie’s film Snatch is a funny, fast, often upsetting yet endearing look at semi-organized crime in farcical modern London. One of the most memorable scenes comes when Sol and Vinny reveal that the stolen diamond, which Avi is after, has been eaten by the dog. Moments before this discovery, we witnessed Bullet Tooth Tony, at Avi’s request, strangle and shoot 5 people to get at the diamond. His reaction when asked to finally kill the dog and retrieve the stone is an abrupt face on his established ruthless character.
Avi: Look in the dog.
Bullet Tooth Tony: What do you mean "look in the dog?"
Avi: I mean open him up.
Bullet Tooth Tony: It's not as if it's a tin of baked beans! What do you mean "open him up"?
After all this bloodshed and violence, why does Bullet Tooth Tony hesitate when it comes to just killing the dog? The answer to this question is all at once complex and so simple: because people can be awful but dogs (and often cats) are always man’s best friend.
Crime fiction has a long history of dog and cat relationships, from faithful companions to crime fighters themselves. The innocent (sometimes fluffy) nature of animals juxtaposed against the grit of crime fighting is a beloved theme for mystery and thriller writers
We asked our editors, some authors, and friends for their favorite M&T book featuring furry companions. Here are the top answers:
- Suspect by Robert Crais -LAPD cop Scott James and his new partner, a German Shepard named Maggie, are struggling thru PTSD together while investigating the death of Scott’s previous partner Stephanie. Typically animal mysteries are more on the cozy side but Crais’ hardboilid dog is an amazing addition to the genre.
- The Cat Who… Mystery Series by Lilian Jackson Braun- No list of animal mysteries could possibly be complete without these. Jim Qwilleran is a reporter who solves crimes with his two Siamese cats. At times silly but always entertaining, The Cat Who… series has been a life-long favorite of many responders.
- Peril for Your Thoughts by Kari Lee Townsend- Kalli is an amateur sleuth with OCD and a very particular cat. Enter Nik, a loud, fun-loving detective with a big messy St. Bernard. They team up to solve a murder, and maybe –after much antagonism- the sparks will fly, but only if they and their fuzzy friends can also find a way to get along.
- Burning Man by Alan Russell- LAPD cop Michael Gideon and his police dog partner Sirius became reluctant celebrities after capturing a notorious serial killer in the midst of an inferno. When a teenager is found crucified in a city park, Gideon and Sirius are handed the bizarre case. Their special man-and-dog partnership makes them uniquely qualified to solve the most bizarre crimes in LA.
- The Adventure of the Speckled Band by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle- Not a dog, not a cat, but an animal crime none the less. We won’t say much more except to say even this bizarre, deeply creepy murder can’t fool the world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes.