Join angler and amateur sleuth Rusty Travers in the first in the Fishing for Mystery series, Cutthroat Business. Read the first chapter. View photos of Rusty's hometown of Port Angeles, the rivers she fishes, local scenery, and more.

The author, Cheryl S. Smith, is new to writing mysteries, but has always loved reading them. She grew up on Agatha Christie, John D. MacDonald, Tony Hillerman, Lawrence Block, and lots of others.

She started writing early. Her first "book," printed in crayon, chronicled the monsters with which her older siblings populated her bedroom and beyond. Her first paid writing was for "M*A*S*H," followed by other television series. But her refusal to live in the Los Angeles area limited her telewriting career, and she switched to nonfiction. She started self-syndicating travel and food writing. But a short humor piece about the trials of competing with her Newfoundland mix, Serling (named for Rod Serling of "Twilight Zone" fame) launched her into dog writing, a path she followed for many years. (To see more about that aspect of Smith's life, go to

After publishing 15 books, hundreds of articles, and winning numerous awards in dog writing, the itch to turn back to fiction became irresistible. Smith finished one mystery, but did not deem it worthy to see the light of day. So she started fresh, with independent, opinionated fisherwoman Rusty Travers as her amateur sleuth. And because she still wanted to include dogs, she gave Rusty a service dog, Border Collie mix named Trophy.

Using her own adopted hometown, Port Angeles, as the setting provides rich detail. Smith's own time working for a police department and her brother's experiences as a long-time police officer combine to let the reader into the off-kilter realm of cop humor.

Smith grew up fishing lakes for perch, croppies, and bass. Her childhood world always included a rowboat, and she loved rowing on the water. With a move to the Pacific Northwest, the focus of fishing changed to saltwater and rivers for salmon, steelhead, and halibut. Her retired cop brother turned to guiding in Alaska and in Washington, and introduced her to other guides.

It all comes together in Cutthroat Business. She is currently studying the world of bass fishing tournaments for the second book in the series, Bass Ackward.

Book Extract
Rusty's Ramblings
Personal Photos
Port Angeles
Fish & Fishing
Local Scenery

Text and photos copyright 2012 Cheryl S. Smith