Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Arf (Bowser & Birdie #2), by Spencer Quinn (author), Jim Frangione (narrator)

Scholastic Audio, May 2016

Bowser and his girl, Birdie Gaux, normally live a happy and carefree life. Now, though, there's been a breakin at 19 Gentilly Lane; the smell of limeade aftershave and cat is all over the side of the house belonging to Bowser, Birdie, and Mama; Mama has lost her oil rig engineering job; a strange young woman with green hair is asking odd questions about the death of Birdie's father, years ago, in New Orleans; and a man who smells of limeade aftershave and cat is showing a lot of interest in Mama.

Birdie's dad's death has been a cold case for a long time, but maybe now it isn't, anymore. Why is it suddenly heating up again? And why are Bowser and Birdie the only ones noticing?

Birdie's not too impressed with Vin Pardo, the new guy suddenly interested in Mama, nor is Gran. Bowser's the only one, though, who knows he's the intruder who broke into the house, and tore Mama's room apart looking for something he didn't find.

Meanwhile, there's the other breakin across town, at the Richelieu home. When Bowser and Birdie go there to see if it was the same as the breakin at their house, they meet the Richelieus, including their teenage son, Preston, who, like his parents, is an arrogant jerk. They also discover that his mother, Minerva Richelieu, is for some reason carrying a pearl necklace in her purse. This becomes very interesting when they learn from the sheriff's son, Rory, that Mrs. Richelieu has reported the pearls stolen in that breakin.

There's also, of course, the green-haired girl and her questions, and the owner of the campsite she's staying at. He's running for sheriff against the incumbent, and his claim to dislike children and dogs doesn't give Bowser or Birdie a good impression of him initially. But when the green-haired girl disappears, things happen that cause Birdie to suspect he might be smarter than the current sheriff.

There's a lot of stuff going on, and much confusion because our chief investigators are a dog--a smart dog, but a real dog, with a dog's nose and ears, but also a reasonable approximation of a real dog's reasoning ability--and an eleven-year-old girl, very smart, but lacking in adult experience. They muddle through, though, and never give up, and find their way through to the end.

It's a lot of fun and very satisfying. One of the things I love about Spencer Quinn's books are his dogs, who are very real and convincing dogs. That's something most dog-narrated books don't achieve, and it makes Quinn's books something special.


I bought this audiobook.

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