Title: Who Sleuthed It?
Author: Edited by Lindy Cameron
Publisher: Clan Destine Press
Published: August 2021
Synopsis: Who Sleuthed It? is the book you want when you want a book about animals helping their animal friends – or their human sidekicks – solve a host of diabolical crimes and whimsical mysteries.
Why, let us tell you about it in rhyme:
Penguins and humans and dogs run by
Magpies, hawks, owls and pigs that fly…
Weredogs and cats and rats are why…
Dragonflies, starlings, and cockies flash by
Foxes and spiders and bats… oh my
Fingers and wings and paws, all solving…
Mysteries and crimes and…
This forthcoming anthology from Clan Destine Press features a host of Australian, American, and Irish authors, including:
Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
Fin J Ross
Narrelle M Harris
Cover illustrated by Judith Rossell
What happens when animals take charge, and solve crimes like the human detectives in literature, television, and popular culture that we all love? What if Holmes and Watson were cats, and Mrs Hudson the human who lovingly looks after them, whilst they solve crimes unbeknownst to her? Or the other animals who look for murderers, thieves and or solve supernatural mysteries? Well, this book has it all and more in nineteen fabulous short stories inspired by the animal world and the pets of the authors, all of whom are from across the globe. This book arrived as a lovely surprise from the publisher to review, amidst a very busy month of reading which is still ongoing.
This fun and innovative book of unique and light-hearted detective stories was a joy to read, and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring these characters. Each story is its own entity, and the crimes are whimsical, and told in a gentle, light way, much like cozy mysteries, as we see the world through the eyes of the animal protagonists – usually cats and dogs – the cats are often aloof, yet faithful even though they’d rather not show too much affection, and the dogs are filled with joy and determination to please their human – sorry, hooman – compatriots. Amidst the cats and dogs are a variety of birds, including one story with a magpie that can converse with a police detective, and where the magpie becomes the intermediary between the cockatoos and the police investigating the mystery.
With so many inventive stories, it was hard to decide which was my favourite, and some authors I was familiar with, like L.J.M Owen and Kerry Greenwood, whilst others were a new discovery, which is often a joy with anthologies like this one – encountering new and familiar authors, and perhaps in mixing them like this, we can attract more people to anthologies through the familiar names. This would then lead to discovering new authors. I loved what Kerry Greenwood did with Phryne Fisher – taking her 1920s heroine and placing her in the background as Phryne’s pet cat (because what other pet would Phryne have?) solves a crime that sits neatly within the world of Phryne Fisher and her other mysteries.
Crime is a genre that is versatile, as it is its own genre yet can be paired with any other genre to create an engaging story. A crime story can take place in the past, present, or future. It can have fantasy, dystopian, romantic, or thriller themes. It can have all of these, and more, and still, the crime will often remain the sole focus of the story – the impetus for the crime solvers to ensure justice is served – if the focus is on the detectives and is from their perspective, and allows us to get a sense of justice, and what the world is like when we see what happens when crime touches us.
This book has elements of it all on top of the crime, and whilst aimed at adults, can be read by young adult readers, confident middle grade readers or even to younger children – as the stories are gentle and a good way to introduce younger readers to crime, amidst all the fantastic middle grade crime novels that have been coming out in recent years.
Again, a fantastic book from Clan Destine Press.