A Parcel of Pups: A Nick Claus, North Pole Security Case by @JBDaneWriter is a BHW pick #books #uf
Title: A PARCEL OF PUPS: A Nick Claus, North Pole Security Case
Author: J.B. Dane
Genre: urban fantasy mystery comedy short story
When puppies go missing just before December 24th, who ya gonna call?
Nick Claus, of course!
As head of North Pole Security, Santa’s only son, and runner up to the sleigh and that one night a year delivery route, Nick Claus not only keeps everyone at Santa Corp’s icy headquarters safe, he’s tasked with keeping “customers” happy, too.
The benefit of having a modicum of Santa magic, flying reindeer, a staff of elves, and the ability to not only get into locked places but talk to and understand animals is greatly beneficial to him when on a case.
And a rash of thefts of 6-week old puppies at various pet stores as the shopping season closes in on the holidays is on his plate to solve.
It’s a tricky case because, based on eyewitness information from three parrots, it appears that the perpetrators are likely folks Nick rubs shoulders with – or would if they were as tall as he is – when at home at the Pole.
But the mastermind – now they’ve won an even higher spot than usual on the Naughty List.
In this first North Pole Security short mystery comedy tale, J.B. Dane keeps the action centered on the late December holidays. What Santa lore doesn’t provide, she has no problem inventing either.
The shop was crowded with holiday shoppers, so the fact that I didn’t look frazzled probably made me stand out. Or it was simply that I was the only guy in a dark suit, dark overcoat, dark leather gloves, and wearing dark glasses in the joint.
“Yes?” the woman who’d just slipped behind the counter queried. “Do you have a problem, sir?”
Took off the sunglasses and gave her a reassuring smile. At least, I hope that’s what she saw it as. “I was told you’re the one with the problem. Are you the manager, ma’am?”
“Ah, yes,” she said sounding more like she really didn’t want to admit to it.
I dropped what I hoped would be a magic word. “Puppies.” Handed her my card.
She took it on automatic, glanced at it, and relaxed.
If you could read over her shoulder, you’d see that it said:
Lost Items Detected. You lose ‘em, we find ‘em
Specializing in missing animals
Not that my name is Nick Clausowitz. Really, it’s Nick Claus. Number one son at the North Pole and runner up to the sleigh, reindeer, red suit and that once a year, accomplished in a single night, delivery route. Dad’s still on the job and in no hurry to step down, so my position in the family firm is Pole security. We pride ourselves on making all our “customers” happy, and missing puppies prior to December 24th did not ensure that.
The case had been brought to my attention by one of the elves, Handler, who ostensibly focuses on antlered flying stock. He has a soft spot for all animals though and claimed he’d heard the pups cry for help.
That’s where I came in. I can work the outside world. The elves, not so much.
The manager looked up at me. I sorta loomed over her. Not on purpose. It was a height thing. She looked relieved now that she knew I wasn’t a Fed there to ask for embarrassing paperwork. Occasionally I pull out a fake FBI card and badge when on Pole business. Amazing how people hop to it when they think they might be in trouble. Yeah, the outfit sorta overplayed things in this situation, but I doubted I’d have been taken seriously if I waltzed in wearing my usual well-worn jeans and holly berry red fisherman’s sweater. Mom knitted one up for Dad, Gramps, each of my two sisters and moi, last holiday season. Grandma called a family intervention before she ended up with one, too.
“Let’s talk in the office,” the manager suggested and led me deeper into pet country.
The shop was in a mall and that means it was long and narrow. Cages with mammals from mice to St. Bernard puppies lined one side and aquarium compartments filled the other. The middle of the store was a crowded mix of shelves with everything a pet owner required. Unless the family pets were reindeer, of course.
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Usually, J.B. Dane shows up here at N.N. Light’s Book Heaven as the author of The Raven Tales, an urban fantasy PI mystery comedy novel series but she also writes shorter fantasy fiction, many tales of which have appeared in anthologies, particularly her Nick Claus, North Pole Security stories. Why? Well, because the holiday season is her favorite time of year, so why not spin a story involving the North Pole. If it was Nick himself delivering gifts, she’d wait up for him.
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