A Shot in the Bark: A Dog Park Mystery by C. A. Newsome

By C. A. Newsome

Artist Lia Anderson loves to commence every day with a visit to the Mount ethereal puppy Park together with her rescues. Then her boyfriend's physique turns up, bringing the eye of Detective Peter Dourson. Lia struggles with grief and her growing to be charm to the good-looking detective whereas Dourson suspects all isn't really because it turns out with the tightly knit staff of park regulars. As Dourson's research uncovers well-kept secrets and techniques, a killer lurks within the guise of a pal.

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The rumour that one boy’s girlfriend cheated on him becomes a fact because everyone is anxious about their girlfriend cheating on them. Collective anxieties are projected on to other people and called ‘rumours’. Alisha loves her boyfriend, but he might be going to split up with her, she says, because there are untrue rumours going round that she had sex with a boy on a school trip. I don’t know Alisha’s boyfriend but I’m quite sure that the reason why these ‘rumours’ affect him is because, inevitably, he wonders what Alisha gets up to when he’s not around and whether she’s as loyal to him as she insists.

We sit down for our fortnightly counselling session and I ask how his latest plan to give up smoking has been going. ‘Badly,’ he says. ’ Boys are forever telling me that their girlfriends are pregnant or ‘might be’ pregnant, so I don’t react. But he’s convinced. ‘We found out last week. ’ I remember him telling me months ago that his girlfriend was on the pill and they were using condoms. ’ According to boys, all condoms split. It’s a badge of honour, as if their jet-propelled penis bursts through every condom and continues for several miles before eventually coming to a halt.

I hope that by acknowledging the underlying anxiety and making it seem normal, we’ve taken away some of its destructive power. The rumours may now feel less awful, and Alisha may be able to deal with them more confidently. As I’ve said, she and her boyfriend devote so much time to rumours because rumours express anxieties. Do you really love me? How much do you love me? Do you love me as much as you love other people? How can I be sure that you love me? Why can’t you prove that you love me? These questions beset young people because they’re the questions we ask originally and most urgently of our parents.

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