Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Ruff vs. Fluff (A Queenie & Arthur Novel #1), by Spencer Quinn (author), Jay Aaseng (narrator), Rachel Jacobs (narrator)

Scholastic Audio, March 2019

This is a story aimed a younger readers, though its length may conflict with its cat and dog narrators in finding the right audience.

On the other hand, I really like Spencer Quinn's animal narrators, and he writes a good mystery, so, I may not be the only older fan of his adult mysteries that is ready to enjoy a somewhat simpler tale from him.

Arthur is a bouncing, happy, loves-everyone sort of mutt. He's not too smart, but he's very loyal, loves his family, and has an excellent nose. Queenie is a beautiful, elegant, intelligent, perfect cat. Just ask her! She'll tell you. She, too, loves the human family she and Arthur reluctantly share.

The family they share includes Mom, who seems to have another name as well, and the twins, Harmony and Bro (real name Ringo, but don't ever call him that.) They own the Blackberry Inn, a bed & breakfast in a small town somewhere in the snow country of New England. Things are tough right now, with no guests, so it's a big relief when Mr. LeMaire shows up to take a room for a couple of days, and do some hiking. He's really specific about what trail he wants to hike, though, and it's not one of the popular ones. When their cousin, the professional trail guide isn't available right away, in the end, the twins lead him to the trail--and then he dismisses them right away.

When their guest doesn't return that evening, they report it to the sheriff, who can't be bothered to send the deputy to look for him immediately. When, the next day, they get a text message from LeMaire's phone saying he had a business emergency and had to head home, they're puzzled, but what can they do? Harmony, though, is still worried, and she takes Arthur on a walk that just happens to be the one where Mr. LeMaire was hiking.

They find the body. The sheriff instantly comes up with a "solution" to the murder, and arrest the family's trail guide cousin. The twins are determined to solve the crime, but, of course, both Queenie and Arthur, limited though their knowledge of humans away from the Blackberry Inn is, have access to information beyond the reach of mere human noses. And they gradually realize that the situation is so dire that they need to (horrors!) work together.

It's a fun story, and Arthur and Queenie are fun characters. I have my doubts about a murder in a young readers' book, but the most important thing, of course, is both the cat and the dog survive unharmed. Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

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