When Don Mayhew got in touch about his middle grade children’s book with Roscoe and Muldoon, The Mayor Is Mad, I thought I’d invite him to stay in with me to chat about it. Little did we realise that The Mayor is Mad stars Roscoe and Muldoon weren’t having that! Instead they took over and I found myself in a full blown interview. Here’s what they had to say:
An Interview with Roscoe and Muldoon, stars of The Mayor Is Mad
This evening I’m with Roscoe and Muldoon, the two dog detectives who star in their recently released first book for middle-grade readers, The Mayor Is Mad. Tell me, did you bring along your book?
Muldoon: But of course.
Roscoe: We don’t go anywhere without it, although it’s kind of a pain to carry around between your canines. But what are you gonna do?
Please tell us a little about your detective work and the book.
Roscoe: We’ve been best buddies for years and just kind of started doing detective work to keep busy. Not many humans realize this, but a dog’s life can be kind of boring. We sit around while they’re busy working, dragging the kids to soccer practice, making dinner. Although dinner usually is the highlight of the day, now that I think about it.
Muldoon: The first case kind of fell into our laps. A pup went missing for almost a week. The parents were so worried. We asked around, then caught a break when the pup was found hiding under a wrecked car in our town’s junk yard. The Cane Corso who patrols the yard actually found him.
Roscoe: From there, things kind of snowballed. The book tells about a series of mysterious burglaries that we had to solve, all while most of the cats and dogs around town were fighting like, well, cats and dogs.
Muldoon: Don’t forget about the fleas.
Roscoe: Yeah, right. There’s also a flea infestation that threatened to become an epidemic. Makes me itch just to think about it.
Hmm. I’m not sure about those fleas! But tell me, will there be more Roscoe & Muldoon adventures?
Muldoon: We definitely have a lot of cases to work up in the next year.
Roscoe: It wouldn’t surprise me if some of them turned up in another book, that’s for sure. But we can’t really say any more than that right now.
Intriguing. Thank you both for agreeing to stay in with me. Did you bring anything else with you?
Muldoon: We brought a photo of our pal Jackson. He’s a Maltipoo pup who helped us crack the burglaries. Cute as a button, that one is.
Roscoe: But so many questions! You’ve never heard anything like it. It never ends.
You can hardly expect him to help solve mysteries if he doesn’t ask questions! So what do you both usually do when you stay in?
Roscoe: Muldoon here holds down the floor quite a bit.
Muldoon: Just wait until you’re my age, bub. We’ll see how much running around you do when your hips are screaming and you could be resting.
I know that feeling Muldoon!
Roscoe: Anyway, I watch a lot of TV with my humans.
Muldoon: Yup, yup, me, too.
What are your favourite TV shows?
Muldoon: Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Scooby-Doo if I’m in the mood for something silly.
Roscoe: There’s nothing wrong with the classics. But for my money, I’ll take Frasier every time. Eddie the Jack Russell terrier could take a funny scene and turn it sublime with just one look. Every time. That guy was incredible.
Lassie and Scooby-Doo take me right back to my childhood and I loved Eddie in Frasier! Do you snack as you watch? I’ve always wondered what dogs prefer: kibble or soft food out of a can?
Roscoe: Gimme that soft stuff.
Muldoon: Canned food is all right. But kibble makes you work for it a bit – and it cleans your teeth while you’re at it.
Do you have a favourite human food: maybe chicken or cheese?
Muldoon: Why choose? Why not mix both together?
Roscoe: Bleeck! Cheese gives me the tummy rumbles. Rotisserie chicken is pretty bomb, though.
Doesn’t too much food make you sleepy. What do you think about naps?
Muldoon: We’re in favor of them.
As you mentioned, there’s a lot of animosity between cats and dogs in The Mayor is Mad. Isn’t it only natural that different species are going to dislike each other?
Roscoe: There’s a lot of evidence throughout history that species are a kind of tribe. Creatures who don’t look like us may have posed a threat thousands of years ago. It’s a survival instinct embedded in most animals. But instead of blindly accepting that impulse, we should be aware of it and make conscious choices every day.
Muldoon: Right. Equality and democracy are important concepts to everyone. They shouldn’t rely on what kind of animal you are or who’s in charge or how everyone is feeling that day.
I couldn’t agree more! Now, let’s talk more about that flea infestation. Given that we’re still in the midst of the Covid pandemic, any advice for dealing with disease?
Roscoe: Well, first off, fleas are annoying. But they’re generally not deadly.
Hmm. Not sure I like the ‘generally not deadly’. Reminds me of being in Botswana when I was rescues from a huge spider that our guide said wasn’t ‘very deadly’. I’d prefer not deadly at all!
Muldoon: True, but I think it’s important to listen to science and medicine. Experts know things we don’t, and they’ll be candid even when it’s inconvenient. Even when we don’t want to hear it, we should pay attention.
So when it comes to fleas, you should follow your vets’ advice?
Muldoon: I do.
Roscoe: Some of our feline friends just give fleas the Works.
You’re talking to a Brit here. What on Earth are the Works?
Roscoe: You’ll have to read the book to find out!
I will indeed! On that note, I think I’ll say thank you for being here Roscoe and Muldoon. It’s been interesting hearing about The Mayor Is Mad (and a few other things I might have preferred NOT to discuss!) so thank you both for being here on Linda’s Book Bag.
Roscoe: You got it.
Muldoon: You’re welcome.
Roscoe & Muldoon: The Mayor Is Mad
Roscoe and Muldoon, two dog detectives, set out to solve a rash of burglaries happening around their small town. Getting to the bottom of these thefts is complicated by reports of a sudden flea infestation, an epidemic being blamed on Siamese cats. The detectives are accompanied at times by their young friend, a Maltipoo puppy named Jackson.
The story’s premise starts on familiar ground (dogs and cats don’t get along? who knew?) then moves in inventive ways. When Jackson gets separated from his friends and wanders off, the pup winds up discovering a world that is exciting, terrifying, confusing, and ultimately enlightening in ways he couldn’t have imagined. As the detectives simultaneously try to solve the crimes and search for their young friend, they are reminded of the importance of friendship, the cruel evils of prejudice, the power of peaceful protest and, most of all, the benefits of judging creatures not by their wealth, appearance, or power but by their actions.
These truths are leavened by humor, wordplay, and simple but sharp political satire. There are characters sure to engage both young animal lovers and parents who might be inclined to read to their children at bedtime, among them a curmudgeonly mole, a blue jay who’s afraid of heights, and more cats than you can shake a stick at.
About Don Mayhew
Don Mayhew is a former journalist from California who’s written about sports, movies, music, television shows, books, toys, fatherhood, education, 9/11, deaf culture, fireworks, and life in the San Joaquin Valley. He’s a big fan of Dr. Seuss, the Boston Red Sox, and Bruce Springsteen. Roscoe & Muldoon: The Mayor Is Mad is his first novel for middle-grade readers.