A mystery narrated by a Labrador retriever. Alright, sounds a little off-beat if that's all you knew about it, but imagine a character with a mix between the logic of Sherlock Holmes and the human failings of Dr. Watson. That's what we have in Randolph, the narrator of the first in this series of mysteries by J.F. Englert.
Writing from a dog's perspective (an intelligent, Dante-loving dog at that), allows for an interesting take on humans. Looking at the things we do through the eyes of another species is occasionally very funny, and Englert's very clever in that way. Randolph, not being your standard dog, sometimes disdains even the things dogs do naturally, discriminating between dogs who relieve themselves just anywhere, and dogs like himself who prefer the sanctity of sheltering bushes.
When A Dog About Town opens, author Lyell Overton Minskoff is dead. Randolph's owner, Harry, is deeply depressed at the loss of his lady love, Imogen, who's left him suddenly about a year before. One of Harry's strange, new acquaintances is a murderer, but he hasn't figured that out yet. His dog intends to do something about that, and sets out to lead his owner to solve the mystery. And so it begins, a delightful, beautifully written mystery that's charming and funny, with a main character so endearing you'll want to scratch him behind the ears and give him an extra treat, though you know what he could really use is a long run in the park...
A Dog About Town is just a delight, all around.
From a canine narrator to a gothic novel-loving mother of three, Withering Heights is a similarly humorous sort of cozy mystery. Ironic that instead of an overfed Labrador retriever the main character of this novel, Ellie Haskell, is a woman who also struggles a bit with her weight.
This mystery involves a big, rambling estate in Yorkshire, near the land of the Brontes, where suspicious things start happening soon after the nouveau riche relatives of Ellie and her husband settle in, thanks to the proceeds of their lottery winnings. Ellie, her husband and their very colorful, high heel and satin dress-wearing housekeeper, Mrs. Roxie Malloy, journey there to get to the bottom of things.
Ellie and Roxie are entertaining cohorts, and this is another charmer. It has the perfect mix of staid, sober characters and outlandishly animated ones as well, coupled with a great gothic setting. Really a fun, light read with just enough substance it doesn't feel like you're reading mere fluff.