A Dog at Sea – J. F. Englert

ADASJFE Randolph, our sentient, literary loving and Holmes-like black Labrador Retriever and his owner Harry are back.  A Dog at Sea opens with exactly that: Randolph and Harry are on a cruise ship, the Nordic Bliss, sailing from New York to Curaçao where they hope to find the missing lady of the house, Imogen.  (This is the third in the series and in book one, A Dog About Town, Imogen left to buy a loaf of bread and never returned home; they’ve been on her trail since.)

They now realise that Imogen is on the run, for she is under threat from people who wish to gain from the massive inheritance coming her way in respect of uranium.  So, as Imogen hides, Harry and Randolph do their best to ensure that they don’t lead the criminals to her. How best to travel “under cover”?  A pet lovers’ cruise.  The Nordic Bliss is jam-packed with heavy product placement and marketing, canine “experts”, frighteningly hard core animal trainers and, of course, animals.  And where the cruise is no different to any other, there is plenty of delicious food on offer.  Alas, Randolph is very quickly spotted for what he is: an overweight dog with under active thyroid and his penchant for Chinese takeaways and pigs in blankets (his personal cruise special) is severely put to the test.


This being the reluctant and intrepid duo that is Harry and Randolph, no outing is without murder, mystery and intrigue.  And soon, Randolph’s detection skills are put to the test, yet again.

This is a gem of a series in comic crime, unfortunately not yet published in the UK.  The author employs an extensive knowledge of dogs that can only come from a totally devoted dog lover and thus it uses intelligence over silliness in its theme.  That said, for the third in the series, A Dog at Sea, I did feel a need for more suspension of disbelief.  However, I also found myself laughing out loud more than for the previous two.

Much like L.C.Tyler’s novels in the UK, the author has a writing style that draws from the older, classic goods and greats.  Indeed, if you enjoy Tyler’s novels, you are likely to feel the same with Englert’s.

For something different, I strongly recommend this series.  Randolph must surely be the only detective to rely on sense of smell for the collection of evidence?  And it cannot be bagged for forensic examination…

Published in the USA by Dell Books on 29 December 2009.

[With many thanks to the author for the copy read.]

2 thoughts on “A Dog at Sea – J. F. Englert

  1. Ankhorite

    Nice review! Englert’s Randolph books are charming, much more entertaining than the “Cat Who . . . ” series by a different author.
    Since “Dog At Sea” was published in 2009, Englert has moved to Sydney, Australia. Searching the internet, I found an interview which says he’s still writing — but not whether he’s writing more Randolph mysteries.
    And the first one may become a movie! Hmm; how will they show Randolph’s thought processes?

  2. crimeficreader

    Many thanks for that piece of information! The last I heard from the author he had some possibly big news coming. Seems it did! Wonderful for him.

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