Sunday, January 6, 2013

Pets in a Pickle, by Malcom D. Welshman

John Blake, ISBN 9781843583615, June 2011 (December 2006)

Paul Mitchell is a young, newly-minted veterinarian, beginning his career at Prospect House Veterinary Hospital. Everyone, from the vet owners of the practice on down, is eccentric, to put it mildly. This includes the husband and wife who own the practice and who have their own very decided views, the receptionist with one working eye and one false eye, which comes out accidentally from time to time, and other support staff including Lucy, the young vet tech who becomes Paul's girl friend. She keeps rescuing animals, and she and Paul have a steadily growing menagerie, including the goose originally acquired for Christmas dinner, but who proved too good at home security to eat.

But the eccentricities of the staff are as nothing compared to the eccentricities of the clients and other assorted neighbors. There are the two older ladies still actively farming, and still living in a time about four decades ago, at least. There is the family with one dearly loved pet pig among the livestock on their farm, and the couple who dote on their pregnant mare, and are convinced that normal symptoms foretell the imminent loss of their pet.

It's clear the aim of this book was to tap into the ample market created by James Herriot's tales of his veterinary adventures. Pets in a Pickle is a fun book, but not in James Herriot territory, sadly. It suffers from the fact that fiction has to be plausible, while non-fiction only has to be true.

Fun but lightweight.

Book trailer