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