Some of you know that I've tried my hand at a Pet Psychic mystery. Why, you ask? (Other than the popularity of pets and the paranormal in mysteries.)
About two years ago, I rescued a beautiful dog we call Buster. He is a giant hunk of intimidating-looking love. Every doggie daycare I've taken him to adores him. He is gentle with the small dogs (except when he tries to tip them over for his own amusement), and even a teacup Chihuahua pushed him around.
Then I watched an animal communicator perform at a doggie event. While I wasn't able to read her mind, it was evident to me that she used cold reading skills to say what the audience wanted to hear and lead the conversation to a suitable conclusion--like a mind reader at a magic show.
It made me wonder, what if there was a medium who actually could see into animal's minds? And what if those animals were witnesses to crimes, or parts of crimes? They wouldn't communicate with words. "Mr. X just killed Ms. Y in the bathroom with a mega-watt hair dryer."
The detective would have to pick through the bits of information communicated by the animal and follow the clues to the murderer. Since animals don't interpret things in the same broad spectrum that people do, the meaning of the clues wouldn't always be clear.
And just for fun, why not make her a charlatan who's only just discovering that she actually possesses these powers? She's succeeded in her business so far with a combination of animal behavior knowledge and cold reading skills she learned from an aunt who reads Taro Cards for a living. The first witness, a desperate dog, breaks through to the genuine psychic within because his message is urgent.
I gave her a rescue dog named Chauncey who's based on my sweet giant Buster. She'll have her hands full figuring him out.
Now if only my character could learn to project images to wake up sleepwalking owners, life would be so much simpler.