Friday 4 October 2013

No Dog Barked: the background to our tentative book title

For those visiting our site who may have wondered why our book on the MacLauchlan Murders is tentatively called “No Dog Barked,” here’s the story:

Dr MacLauchlan and his wife Nan were murdered on late Monday evening, March 21, 1966 and their bodies were discovered Wednesday, March 23, 1966. The couple had a small dog, an 8-year dachshund named Pogo, who was not harmed by the murderer and, according to the police, had wandered through the house for two days while the murder victims lay undiscovered. In fact, Pogo had also been seen on the sidewalk in front of the MacLauchlan’s residence at 912 Fifth Street on the Tuesday.

The story of Pogo perambulating along the sidewalk immediately reminded us of the Sherlock Holmes mystery Silver Blaze. The story focuses on the disappearance of a race horse of that name on the eve of an important race and on the apparent murder of its trainer. As described in Wikipedia, it features some of Conan Doyle's most effective plotting, hinging on the "curious incident of the dog in the night-time:"

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"

Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."

Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."

Holmes: "That was the curious incident."

Not only was the murder of the MacLauchlans a very quiet deed (giving the police reason to believe it was carried out using a silencer-equipped 38 automatic), no dog – meaning Pogo – barked. There may be a parallel between these two murders – one fictional and the other real. Some questions are raised, the first one being did Pogo know his owners’ murderer? Is that why he was quiet? The second question, naturally, is how did Pogo get out? Was there a “doggie door”? Or did someone let him out and then, sometime on Tuesday evening, let him back inside 912 Fifth Street?

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