A prompt in one of the reading challenges I am working on this year was: “a book in which an animal or inanimate object is a point of view character.” Having already read the great “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” I could not think of another book that would apply to this prompt. Thanks to a Goodreads group, I found “A Dog About Town” which had an interesting enough premise for me to want to read it. While the book was entertaining enough, I didn’t find the mystery to be that compelling or enough to keep me interested in whodunit.
Randolph is a slightly overweight Labrador who loves to read and recite poetry and has been mourning the strange disappearance of his mistress Imogen, who vanished without a trace the year before. Harry, Imogen’s boyfriend, has been in a haze of grief since Imogen disappeared and has found himself involved in the world of séances and ghost hunting. When Harry finds himself in the middle of a murder mystery, Randolph must use his own powers of deduction and sleuthing to ensure Harry solves the crime.
I really enjoyed Randolph and thought the concept of a mystery solving dog to be very clever. J.F. Englert does a great job of making a critical thinking dog believable while also making Randolph act like a typical canine. His inner dialogue was humorous as well as insightful and I loved when he would randomly quote a poem or poet for whatever situation or mood he was in. Harry, the owner, was seen through Randolph’s eyes so we didn’t get much in the way of character development but Harry’s grief over Imogen was evident and understandable. Randolph was the best part of the book, to be honest. The mystery was not compelling and the moments of suspense that were sprinkled throughout the book did little to keep the story going or me interested in figuring out the killer. I would have liked the story more if had been about Imogen’s disappearance and not the mystery death of a playboy attending a séance. Harry’s involvement with the paranormal didn’t make sense to the story and I found myself questioning why Englert decided to include that story line. The end and reveal of the murderer was anti-climactic and was pretty easy to solve.
In the end, this was an enjoyable, fun book because of the main character Randolph but left something to be desired when it came to the mystery. I enjoyed the writing but found myself wanting a bit more substance. I would recommend for readers that love dogs and don’t mind a simple to solve mystery.
Author: J.F. Englert
Rating: 3 Stars