I’m going to cheat a bit this week. Instead of telling you about a dog book, I’m going to let you know about a mystery novel that Elizabeth just read, No Mark Upon Her. It’s by one of Elizabeth’s favourite mystery writers, Deborah Crombie, a volume in her Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid Scotland Yard series.
Gemma and Duncan have dogs, but they are usually on the fringe of the main story. No Mark Upon Her is a bit different from the others from my point of view, however. In this book, a police detective, who is also a contender in Olympic rowing for England at the 2012 games in London, is found dead in the Thames after a workout one evening.
What makes this book different from Crombie’s others? It isn’t the police who find the missing rower. Oh, no. It’s a couple of search and rescue dogs, Tosh and Finn, that sniff her out! Their finding her body allows the police to examine it and determine that she didn’t have an accident: she was murdered! So, without Tosh and Finn, there wouldn’t even be a story.
And those two dogs? Well they keep their grip on the plot as they would their teeth on an old bone. Finn in particular, a Labrador Retriever like my best pal Bud (only Finn is black), plays a dramatic role throughout the story, saving his master from a dangerous killer on more than one occasion. And that’s exactly as it should be when there are dangerous killers lurking!
However, it would have made for a much shorter story if Finn’s handler, also a rower, name of Kieran, would have just paid attention to Finn from the start. Dogs always notice a lot more than their two-leggers realise. And this failure to fully understand what his dog desperately tries to communicate to him adds a lot of drama to the story. But two-leggers seem to like that sort of thing. I just think it’s stressful.
I’m still trying to figure out why this sort of aberrant human behaviour is so popular among two-leggers who read books. Elizabeth just eats mysteries up like they’re bacon and cheese cookies! And she really enjoyed this one. I could tell.
So if you like mystery stories, particularly if you like English police procedurals, Elizabeth says, with dogs in them, I say, then, by golly, you’d better latch onto this one while she still has it in stock. And if you buy it here, you know that I’ll give my commission to help my homeless dog friends at It’s a Dog’s Life, Kenora’s dog fostering network.