"A Deadly Bone to Pick" By Peggy Rothschild: Review/Giveaway/Interview

Review by Sandra Murphy

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it. We also have an interesting interview with Peggy.

A Deadly Bone to Pick A Molly Madison series By Peggy Rothschild 

Review by Sandra Murphy

Molly Madison moved from Massachusetts to California with her Golden Retriever, Harlow. Her friends back home urge her to get out and meet people, and she’s doing that in her new neighborhood although mostly by accident. She and Harlow also make friends with Noodle, a St. Bernard/Poodle cross. He’s slow to move and quick to drool—and downright lovable. 

➡ switch to KingsRiverLife.com for more articles ⬅

Image Source Penguin
He’s also an escape artist, surprising for a 180-pound dog. Rather than let him roam the neighborhood while his person, a surgeon, works, Molly offers to dog sit. Noodle ends up going everywhere with Molly and Harlow. 

The mornings start with walks on the beach. While Harlow plays in the waves, Noodle would rather follow the Stroll and Sniff program. And dig. Molly didn’t expect him to show her his treasure—a severed hand. The police must find out if it was a boating accident or murder. Molly is in their sights since she’s new in town, found the hand, with Noodles’ help, and has a few secrets of her own. 

Seville is a new neighbor who drops by with gossip and good intentions—like making business cards and flyers for Molly, touting her as a dog wrangler. Molly’s second ‘client’ (both non-paying) is Ava, a kid with a big brain. Her dog chewed dad’s shoe and has been banished outside. As a way to keep busy, dog wrangling is fun. Thank goodness, she doesn’t need it to be a money maker. 

When a second death and then a third occur, Molly’s under more scrutiny from the irritable detective with personal problems of his own. Since her one foray into finding a clue on her own turned out badly, she’s inclined to stick to the company of dogs—at least until she finds the killer has been in her house. 

This is the first in a new series, and I enjoyed it a lot. Molly, Harlow, and Noodle share a lot of basic training tips, information on agility, and more without it interfering with the plot. Ava adds a quirkiness, and it’s easy to believe she’s an adult in a kid’s body. The mystery is a good one, and I only guessed the killer’s identity about a minute before she figured it out. The only quibble I have with the book is Harlow is sometimes called by name, sometimes called the golden or the retriever, and Noodle is referred to by name or the St. Bernardoodle. It’s distracting. Their names, even used often, are less distracting. I look forward to the next in the series, hopefully coming soon.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She writes about eco-friendly topics, pets and wildlife for magazines and reviews mysteries and thrillers for KRL. A collection of her short stories, published by Untreed Reads, From Hay to Eternity: Ten Tales of Crime and Deception can be found at all the usual outlets. Each one is a little weird and all have a twist you won't see coming.


KRL: How long have you been writing?

PR:  I started writing stories as child, but after college, all my writing was work-related-- newsletter copy, advertisements, correspondence, and, somewhere along the way, I forgot how much I enjoyed writing. I rediscovered the joy years later and, through a mystery writing class at UCLA extension, connected with a great critique group. 

KRL: When did your first novel come out, what was it called, and would you tell us a little about it?

PR:  I self-published my very first novel, Clementine’s Shadow, in 2013. In a scorched landscape of played-out silver mines and dry riverbeds, the protagonist, Deputy Casey Lang, hunts for a child snatched by a predator. As the temperature rises, three unlikely heroes emerge to help. 

 Peggy Rothschild

KRL: Have you always written mysteries/suspense and if not, what else have you written?

PR:  Yes. I wrote the young adult adventure, Punishment Summer (Evernight Teen). In it, after being sent to live with her grandfather for the summer, sixteen-year-old Nicki learns secrets run deep and dangerous in Punishment, CA. 

KRL: What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series? 

PR:  When I began writing A Deadly Bone to Pick, we were still living in Ventura, CA. One day I was driving around the beachside area of Pierpont and decided a fictionalized version of it would make an ideal setting for a mystery - and the City of Pier Point was born. For the main character, I wanted someone who worked with dogs, and had a background in law enforcement. As I started writing, Molly Madison came to life!

KRL: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to experience from your work?

PR:  I’m all about the escapism and entertainment though I’m sure my love of animals - as well as other things that I care about - seep into each story. 

KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just work whenever you can? 

PR:  I try to sit at the keyboard every day. Whether actual writing gets done is another story! But, right now, my schedule is flexible, and I have plenty of time to write.

KRL: What is your ideal time to write?

 PR:  I usually start in the late morning and edit in the afternoon or evening, but every day is different, so nothing is set in stone.

KRL: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it? 

PR: I’m more of a “pantster” than a plotter, but I do write to plot points. I start with an excel file telling me on what page my first plot point, first pinch point, etc., should land, along with possible actions taken by my protagonist or the antagonist. Doing this gives me a framework, though my plot and pinch points often change along the way! 

KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?

PR:  Not so much difficult as slow, but that’s largely on me. I was slow to send out queries to agents. I mean, seriously slow. Years passed between letters. My young adult adventure was published by a small Canadian publisher after I connected with them through an online contest. I also ended up connecting with my agent through a different online event. While the first couple manuscripts she represented didn’t find a publishing home, A Deadly Bone to Pick has!

KRL: Well we are glad it has! Do you have a great rejection/critique or acceptance story you’d like to share?

PR:  When I had “the call” with my agent, I was sitting on the kitchen floor with one of our cats while we talked about ourselves, our cats, and books. It wasn’t until the call was nearly over that I realized she was actually offering to be my agent.

KRL: Most interesting book signing story-in a bookstore or other venue? 

PR:  My story is from a reader’s perspective. Many years ago, I had the chance to meet Sue Grafton at a women’s conference held in Santa Barbara. She was speaking on perseverance, not about writing per se. I was so excited when I approached her, I think I scared her a little. I’ve since learned to tamp down my enthusiasm when I meet an author - at least outwardly! 

KRL: LOL sounds like me! What are your future writing goals?

PR:  I’ve turned in book two of the Molly Madison Dog Wrangler mystery series to my publisher. I don’t have a release date for it yet, but I’m really excited about where the story takes Molly and her dogs. 

KRL: Who are your writing heroes? 

PR:  I’m a long-time fan of Michael Connelly and Robert Crais. Both authors’ books are so well written and the way they bring L. A. to life is amazing. I’m also a huge Rachel Howzell Hall fan - her Lou Norton detective series is fantastic. I can’t leave out either Margaret Mizushima or Paul Doiron. Mizushima’s Timber Creek K-9 mysteries and Doiron’s game warden series are rife with vivid description, strong characters and terrific plots. 

KRL: What kind of research do you do?

PR:  I was lucky enough to begin research for A Deadly Bone to Pick before the pandemic started. I had this vague idea of a mystery involving a woman who participates in agility competitions with her dog. I’d yet to put a word on the page when I went to watch a friend compete at an agility meet. It was a lot of fun and I’m so glad I was able to enjoy it in person. After things shut down, I watched a number of agility YouTubes and asked my friend a ton of questions. 

KRL: What do you like to read?

PR:  I read fairly widely, but I’m a die-hard mystery and thriller addict. My TBR pile is always growing. Right now, I’m reading David Bell’s Kill All Your Darlings. Next up are P.J. Vernon’s Bath Haus, Elle Cosimano’s Finlay Donovan Knocks ’Em Dead, and Eliza Nellum’s The Bone Cay.

KRL: What are your favorite TV shows or movies? 

PR: We’re currently catching up on Bosch. We’re midway through season four and completely hooked! My go-to “I can watch it over and over” TV shows are Chuck and How I Met Your Mother.

KRL: I love Chuck! Have you any advice for aspiring or beginning writers? 

PR:  Find a supportive writers’ group. Feedback is key when starting out. “Fresh” eyes can see things in your pages that you won’t. Also, reading and critiquing other writers’ work can help hone your own writing skills.

KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

PR:  Our home burned down in a wildfire in December 2017. We were lucky that we got out safely, along with our pets, but we lost pretty much everything. That experience has definitely changed my relationship with “stuff.”

KRL: Pets? 

PR:  Right now, we have three adorable cats: Mei Mei, Moki and Pinkerton. All are rescues (one is “helping” at my keyboard right now) and each of them brings us great joy. 

KRL: Is there anything you would like to add? 

PR: Just a big thank you for giving me a chance to prattle on about myself and writing!

KRL: You are very welcome! Thanks for chatting with us.

KRL: Website? Twitter? Facebook?

PR:  You can find me at: https://peggyrothschildauthor.com

    Or on Twitter: @pegrothschild 

    Or Instagram: peggyrothschild6

To enter to win a copy of A Deadly Bone to Pick, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "bone,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 5, 2022. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Great to get in on the beginning of a series.
    Sounds like a great read. thanks

  2. Enjoyed the post, count me in! tWarner419@aol.com

  3. Sounds like a great book. Would really like to read.


Post a Comment