Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Review of "ARF" by Spencer Quinn

The detective in this middle-grade mystery is 11-year-old Birdie Gaux, a clever gal who lives in a Lousiana bayou town with Mama, Grammy, and Bowser - her loyal pooch.

As the story opens two houses in the neighborhood have been broken into, including the Gaux residence. The Gaux family isn't missing anything but the neighbors report a missing pearl necklace. What's this though? Has Birdie spotted the necklace in the neighbor lady's purse?

Soon after the burgarlies a hippie girl shows up and befriends Birdie, asking questions about Birdie's dad - a cop who was killed ten years ago during a murder inquiry. At about the same time, a man passing through town takes an interest in Mama....and asks a lot of nosy questions about the Gaux house.

Soon enough someone goes missing, and Birdie and Bowser find the body in the bayou. Further inquiries reveal that everything that happened above is connected, and danger lurks around our intrepid young detective. But anyone threatening Birdie better watch out for Bowser!

The story is narrated by Bowser, a clever fellow who has a spot of trouble with math and idiomatic expressions.....but so what? Bowser is a really funny dog. He's always surprised to realize it's HIM that's making that growling sound, and he's usually befuddled when he's scolded. What did he do wrong? Moreover, Bowser never misses an opportunity to squeeze himself between Birdie and anyone else...which made me laugh.

This is a well-written and entertaining middle-grade mystery, recommended to kids (and adults) who like these kinds of fun stories.

Rating: 3 stars