Chet and Bernie are back, and due to Bernie's odd habit of befriending the perps he gets locked up, they're on their way to Louisiana, to look for the only honest member--and almost the only smart member--of the Boutette family, who has mysteriously gone missing.
Frenchie Boutette, now doing time including working a highway cleanup crew as a prisoner of the state of California, is worried because his wife, Vannah, reports that his brother Ralph is missing. Frenchie has convinced his brothers, Duke and Lord, his wife Vannah, and his mother Mami, that Bernie is the one who can help. Someone needs to help, because Duke, Lord, and Baron (Frenchie's real name) aren't that bright, and being criminals, going to the police doesn't seem like an option.
Ralph isn't a criminal. He's an inventor with some thirty patents to his name. He's a quiet guy, a bit of a loner, who lives on his houseboat with his pug, Napoleon. He bothers no one, and everyone talks about what a straight arrow he is.
But clearly Ralph has bothered someone, and it might have something to do with his latest gizmo. Does it also have something to do with the dead and dying birds local children are bringing to Dr. Orly, Napoleon's vet?
As always, Bernie's canine partner, Chet, narrates the story from his own uniquely doggy viewpoint, and while he misses many of the subtleties of the conversation and events he's reporting, he also picks up on things Bernie misses, such as the smell of a certain aftershave, and the presence of a certain little dog everyone should be looking for.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable light mystery. Recommended.
I received a free electronic galley from the publisher via NetGalley.