Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Dog At Sea-J.F. Englert

A Dog At Sea
J.F. Englert
Dell, Dec 29 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780440245414

He has an extremely high IQ and loves to read a variety of boojs; unusual traits in a canine. Randolph the Labrador and his less intelligent human companion Harry are on a canine cruise in which both species have the freedom of the Nordic Bliss as poop decks have different meanings. Ostensive the duo are enjoying their time at sea; but actually are following a clue to Imogen, Harry’s beloved human love and Randolph’s mistress. Fearing for Randolph and Harry in that order, she faked her death because a bad person with influential allies wanted control of her uranium fortune.

On board they meet Milton Tabasco, TV’s dog “mutterer”, who hypnotizes canines with his voice. At the Captain’s Table for dinner, Milton and his wife Kitty argue and she storms out of the dining room. Later, Randolph and Harry see her crying on the deck. Soon afterward they learns she jumped overboard and is assumed dead. Randolph sniffs Tabasco and concludes Milton killed his spouse. However the smell changes to regret so Randolph wonders if his original olfactory conclusion stinks. When someone else dies in a box that Milton uses as part of a magic trick, Tabasco was nowhere near the victim at the time of the murder. Randolph investigates and scents another homicide, but has to find a way to tell the tone deaf authorities who the killer is; he comes up with a devious brilliant plan.

Reminding me of my late Max (who understood the spelling of words like pizza and treat) and I am sure other readers of their brilliant dogs, Randolph loves to eat, eat, and eat yet always takes into account the best interest of his BF. In his third canine caper (see A Dog About Town and A Dog Among Diplomats), the sentient dog is at his best as he expects to dine, poop, sleep and dine, but the ship staff wants him to lose weight. His perspective (on the murders, the inquiry, exercise, and dieting, etc.) makes for a wonderful anthropomorphic whodunit.

Harriet Klausner