What Scooby-Doo Taught Me About Writing Mysteries — Guest Libby Klein

Sylvia Auclair is the winner of Libby’s books. Look for an email from Libby!

Sherry — If you need a funny post to warm you on a cold almost winter’s day read on. Guest Libby Klein is visiting to celebrate the upcoming release of Theater Nights Are Murder, the fourth book in the Poppy McAllister Mystery series. Look for a give away at the end of the post. Here’s a little about the book: The last thing gluten-free baker Poppy McAllister needs in her life is more drama—or more murder . . .

Poppy thought her toughest challenge this winter would be sticking to her Paleo diet and filling all her orders for her gluten-free goodies, but now she has to choose between two suitors. She’s not the only one with boyfriend drama. Aunt Ginny’s long-ago high-school beau, Royce Hanson, a retired Broadway actor, has returned to Cape May, New Jersey, to star in a Senior Center staging of Mamma Mia. Leaving Aunt Ginny to wonder: What’s his motivation?

Slated to open February 13th, the problem-plagued production seems to be cursed—with stolen props, sabotage, and even a death threat. But when a cast member plunges to his death from a catwalk, it soon becomes clear a murderer is waiting in the wings. Now Poppy, Aunt Ginny, and a supporting cast must take center stage to catch the killer—before it’s curtains for someone else . . .

Libby: I’m a child of the 70s. And like every other red-blooded American kid of the decade, the highlight of my week revolved around brightly colored breakfast cereal and Saturday morning cartoons. Of all the technicolor offerings from Hanna-Barbera, Scooby-Doo was hands down my favorite.

Over the past few months, one of my grandsons visited me every week, and I had the pleasure of introducing him to Shaggy and the gang on DVD. It became our thing. Friday mornings, watching Shaggy make giant sandwiches that Scooby would snarf down in one gulp. Watching my grandson eat his weight in goldfish crackers and chocolate milk. (don’t tell his mother) I came to realize just how many ways Scooby-Doo and the gang had influenced my Poppy McAllister Mysteries.

First, you need a good sidekick.

Scooby and Shaggy go together like peanut butter and jelly – or sardines and marshmallow fudge if Shaggy is to be believed. Everyone needs a buddy when you’re locked in a museum in the middle of the night and a creepy mummy crawls out of the Egyptian sarcophagus.  Fortunately, Poppy has Sawyer, her lifelong best friend. Poppy and Sawyer tend to dive headfirst into sticky situations just to back each other up. So far, they’ve faced the high school reunion from hell, the midnight romp of the snack bandit, and a chef competition so traumatic you’ll want to order delivery for the rest of your life. Like Shaggy and Scooby, Poppy wants nothing to do with finding bad guys. She just wants to hang out with her friends and maybe have some snacks.

Add in a dash of snappy dialogue

 Fred: “Stay here Scoob, we’re going to go check out these weirdos.”

Velma: “There’s a very logical explanation for all this.”

Shaggy: “Quick, tell me.”

Velma: “The place is haunted.”

Fred: “We’re going back to find out what it was.”

Shaggy: “Swell. I’ll wait here and when you find out, send me a telegram.”

If you’ve read my series, you can clearly see that my dialogue is on par with the words of Shaggy and the gang. I’ve aspired high and I believe I’ve reached the pinnacle of success that only a select few have mastered.

Everyone needs the voice of reason

Poor Velma did all the work. Week after week, figuring out that bad guys did it with smoke and mirrors and luminescent paint. But did she ever get the credit? No. Fred set up some lame trap that Shaggy and Scooby barreled into and accidentally unmasked the villain by falling on them. Then it was all shaking fists and, “You meddling kids!” Aunt Ginny is Poppy’s eighty-ish year old great aunt, and she’s often the voice of reason. No one listens to her either, but in their defense, it is difficult to take someone seriously when they’re dressed in a Little Bo Peep costume because, “it’s Tuesday.”

Have a good Incentive plan.

Fred and the gang can get Scooby to do just about anything by waving a box of scooby snacks under his nose. Scooby has been the bait used to lure the villain towards one of Fred’s traps enough times to learn to just say no. But still he gives in to the lure of temptation. Sir Figaro Newton, Poppy’s black smoke Persian, can sniff out trouble like Scooby sniffing out a box of scooby snacks.  And just like Scooby, he’ll also work for treats. Figaro is smarter than Poppy gives him credit for. He knows when people are trying to hide secrets, and he’s a very good judge of character. Most of the time. He can be bought with bacon. Other than that, his detecting skills are sharp.

Everyone likes a little side romance.

We’re talking about you, Fred. You’re not fooling anyone. We know why you always suggest you and Daphne go “search for the ghost” in another room. Even Velma is tired of your shenanigans. Poppy has more romance than she can handle. Her life is right back in the same romantic crossroads she found herself in twenty-five years ago. This is her chance for a life do-over and she’s trying to listen to her heart. When she can hear it over everyone impatiently pushing her to choose. Give the girl a minute!

Finally, people are never what they seem

If we learned anything from Scooby Doo, this is the big one. In the end, every villain had to be unmasked – sometimes more than once – to reveal their true identity. They were never who you first suspected, and their motives for murder always seem justified in their minds.  Sometimes the bad guys are just good guys with bad ideas. People are complicated. They usually only show you what they want you to see. Poppy’s biggest challenge in solving mysteries is digging deep to find out who’s behind the mask.

That’s where the gang comes in. You need a good support system to handle life’s trials and disappointments.  A cast of friends who love and accept you for who you are. Each having their own role in bringing justice back into the world. Plus, it helps to have someone along who always has a box of snacks.

Readers: Did you love Scooby Doo? Which character was your favorite? Libby is giving away two of her ebooks to one person who leaves a comment! A winner will be chose by 5:00 pm eastern on Saturday the 21st.

About Libby Klein: Libby Klein graduated Lower Cape May Regional High School sometime in the ’80s. Her classes revolved mostly around the culinary sciences and theater, with the occasional nap in Chemistry. She loves to drink coffee, bake gluten free goodies, and befriend random fluffy cats. She writes from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her cat Figaro off her keyboard. Most of her hobbies revolve around eating, and travel, and eating while traveling.

62 Thoughts

    1. You don’t know what you’re missing! My mother used to run into the room to watch Scooby Doo with us. Thank you so much for the well wishes – and our New Year’s Eve Book Launch party will be fabulous! I’m so glad your joining us.

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  1. I haven’t read this series yet, but it sounds great! I love this blog as I am always discovering wonderful new series.

    I used to love watching Scooby Doo when I was little. Someone had given my brother a Scooby Doo board game for his birthday and we had a lot of fun playing with it. My daughter watched Scooby Doo sometimes, but I think the original shows were better than the newer version.

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    1. Let me tell you – nothing ruins Scooby Doo like the addition of Scrappy. I also bought the movies to show my grandson. They do not have the same timelessness that the show had.

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  2. Do I love Scooby Doo? Hell yes I do! I watched all the variations of the cartoon series when I was a kid.

    If you look at my mail, you’ll note that I have Scooby Doo stamps on them! I bought the first two seasons of the show on DVD a few months back. They don’t hold up as well as I would hope because back then I wasn’t thinking critically about the writing but still, I love the character and show.

    I don’t know who my favorite character is anymore but back then I probably would’ve said Shaggy because we had similar appetites.

    Libby, by the way if the cartoons aren’t enough for your grandson, they do publish Scooby Doo comic books as well.

    You don’t need to register me for the giveaway however, as I don’t do ebooks. Still, this was a great topic today because it means I got to talk about my love of the World’s Greatest Crime-Solving Dog!

    Scooby Dooby Doo!

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  3. I loved Scooby Doo. I’d have to say Velma was my favorite character although it’s hard to single out one of the gang. Congrats on the new book, Libby!

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  4. Scooby-Doo gave me nightmares in a-it’s-too-good-not-to-watch way when I was little. Unfortunately, the arrival of Scrappy-Doo and Scooby-Dum (horrible names) was my first experience of a show jumping a shark, so I sadly gave it a miss.
    Normally I’m wary of re boots, but my kids introduced me to Mystery Incorporated a few years back, and it’s still one of my favorite shows to veg out with. The humor is snarkier, and some of the scenes are too scary for the under eight set, but Velma gets to be a full on geek with no apologies, so I appreciate that.
    I can’t wait to read your next book—although I am a little worried since I can only really get behind one of Poppy’s suitors.

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  5. Love Scooby Do and loved watching it with my daughter. Always a doggie lover, I loved not only Scoobie Doo but also Scrappy-Doo., Scooby-Dum. and Yabba-Doo.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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  6. Congrats on the upcoming release, Libby! I, too am a child of the 70s who grew up on Scoob and the Gang. If I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be Shag. It’s probably because I can identify with his desire to do the right thing, but being a big chicken at the same time. By the way, thank you for not mentioning Scrappy Doo, he’s so annoying!

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  7. ViolaWelcome back to the blog, Libby! My six-year old granddaughter is such a huge Scooby fan that 2 Halloweens ago she had the whole family dress up as Scooby and the gang. My son says it’s her path into being interested in mysteries, so I’m encouraging it!

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  8. I love Scooby Doo and I love your series! Definitely, the doggie wins my favorite choice. I watched it years ago and I recently watched a bunch of YouTube videos. It was so innovative and different from the usual cartoon fare.

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  9. I didn’t watch much TV growing up, so I’ve only seen a handful of Scooby Doo episodes, and those were years ago. But you make a compelling case for how the show influenced your writing.

    Congrats on the new book!

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  10. And don’t forget that Scooby Doo did influence pop culture further down the line. The Buffy The Vampire Slayer TV show notably. Buffy’s friends/allies in her fight against evil were known as the Scoobies!

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  11. I love Scooby-Doo but I only discovered it when I had kids. We owned every movie on DVD – my favorite is Aloha Scooby-Doo and The Hex Girls are my favorite Scooby-Doo band. Velma is my favorite character, of course.

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  12. I didn’t watch Scooby Doo very much, since I was more a child of … older … so I don’t remember the characters except Scooby very well. Did you get a sheet of Scooby stamps this year when they were out?
    Merry Christmas and Congrats on the new release!

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    1. Thank you, Jeanie. I am so sad that I missed the Scooby Doo stamps. My post office flaunts the sheet to remind me that they had them, sold out, and I missed the whole thing. I send too much through email. I will try to be on top of it if they come out again.

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  13. Haha. Very cool post. If pressed, I’d have to say that Shaggy was my favorite. He wasn’t smart at all but Scooby and he had more fun than anybody (except for Fred alone with the ladies). Great post!

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  14. I love Scooby Doo. Watched it when I was young, and then rewatched it with the nieces and nephews. We now rate them on originals v. contemporary versions, and still watch them together once in a while. Your series is such a hoot–I can’t wait to read the new one!

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