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Mr. Darcy and Miss Lizzie

Harold, Charlie and the

Campeche Hell Dogs


          Harold and Charlie, Abby Norton’s two black Labradors, are central characters in "Three Trees." They’re not only her staunch protectors, but her Achilles’ heal. Following her high-profile divorce, Abby adopts the two underweight, scruffy pups from the city animal shelter, and the three of them move from Dallas to the small Texas coastal town of Galveston. Abby buys the historic Stewart’s Mansion, and rents a townhouse at the nearby marina. However once renovation begins, so does Abby’s real trouble.

          The two loyal canines spend their days exploring the mansion property, hanging out with the construction crew, architect and contractor, and keeping a watch on their human mom, which proves a challenge. The brave and lovable duo is quick to answer the call of their protective nature, and find themselves at the center of a brutal murder. They also seem to possess a curious relationship with the mansion’s three over-sized pirate murals.

          The Stewart’s Mansion in Galveston, the original home of the Stewart Title Company family, has a long and storied history. The mansion sits on the original settlement site of pirate Jean Lafitte, and one of the many tales involves his Campeche Hell Dogs. It is said that the pirate took a pregnant wolf-mix dog to a voodoo queen and told her that he wanted twelve pure black puppies that would grow into fierce dogs to protect his buried treasure. The witch performed her magic and, as the eye of a hurricane passed over (of course), the last puppy was born. The voodoo queen died transferring all her powers to the litter.

          There are those who believe the mythical dogs still roam the property, guarding the handsome pirate’s treasure. Stories are told of smelling wet dog and hearing growling. It is said that if someone sees the dogs, death, serious injury or health issues soon follow. However, they’ve never been known to hurt women or children, and have even been rumored to herd lost children home.

          This is such an incredible tale that I had to include it in the novel. The sight of Abby’s two black dogs roaming the property certainly gives some pause.

          We lost our sweet black Labrador, Homer, while I was finishing “Three Trees.” He was the inspiration for Abby’s dogs. He had all Harold’s fierce protectiveness, and Charlie’s incessant need for love and attention. We’ve now added two black Labrador rescues to our family from Dallas Animal Services, cherished siblings, Miss Lizzie and Mr. Darcy.

          Everyone needs their own Campeche Hell Dogs to set right what’s wrong in the world.

Bryant and Carolyn with Mr. Darcy and Miss Lizzie PHOTOS Wade Livingston