German shepherd mix King and wire-haired dachshund Baxter help Nevada rancher Jeep Reed solve a murder in Rita Mae Brown's A Nose for Justice, the first in a new mystery series.

King and Baxter unearth a really cold corpse in Jeep's barn. Have your pets ever dug up something cool?

They dig up arrowheads all the time.

No corpses?

I hope they never do! (I would be very happy if they'd dig up some treasure.) You know if you don't bury a corpse, human or otherwise, at anything less than six feet, dogs can smell it and dig it up.

Your cat, Sneaky Pie, is billed as co-author on another animal mystery series of yours. Did you have a canine collaborator on this new series?

Moxie, a beautiful russet tan foxhound.

Nevada's water problems are a big part of A Nose for Justice. What worries you the most about this issue?

What I fear is that some of the diversion of water, particularly toward Las Vegas, involves corruption. That's very worrisome. Nevada gets seven inches of rainfall a year (and in a drought much less than that), has the highest foreclosure rate in the country, and high unemployment.

What's next?

The next book in the series will deal with the crush of immigrants from California. California and Nevada are so different. Suburbanites and city people are moving into Reno or Las Vegas. Why? No state taxes. More opportunity. They're going to grab it without thinking what they're going to give back.

Do you enjoy writing mysteries?

I didn't even read them as a kid. Then Sneaky Pie convinced me to read them, and I started writing them. It's been great fun, like going to a terrific party.

In your memoir, Animal Magnetism, you say: "There's no such thing as a dumb dog, but God knows there are continents filled with dumb humans." What's one simple thing dogs do that humans should do?

In the wild, the canine species—wolf, coyote, fox—doesn't breed past the food supply, which seems to me to be extraordinarily intelligent. I don't know if domestic dogs have lost that ability. We've lost our ability, if we ever had it, to gauge our resources versus our numbers. If you're not living in the natural world, why don't you listen to those of us that do? One thing I'd like to ask PW readers to do. Go to an animal shelter, and if you can't take an animal home, give the shelter 10 bucks. The best friends come on four feet.