|Now||2023||Previous||Articles||Road Essays||Road Reviews||Author||Black Authors||Title||Source||Age||Genre||Series||Format||Inclusivity||LGBTA||Portfolio||Artwork||WIP|
Arf by Spencer Quinn is the second Bowser and Birdie middle grade mystery. Birdie's mother is home, laid off from her oil rig job after prices tank. Meanwhile someone has broken into the Gaux home and the crime might have ties to murder of Birdie's father in New Orleans.
Of course all of this is told from the point of view of Bowswer, the dog on the cover. Bowser early on knows who the villain, which means we do to. This puts into play Alfred Hitchcock's notion of suspense.
But he's a dog and doesn't know how to communicate his knowledge to Birdie. The lack of easy communication further builds tension in a mystery that's written in an easy, off the cuff manner to appeal to tweens.
This novel also took a turn that I see quite a bit in the cozy mysteries written for adults but didn't expect here. A secondary character, one who is important to the novel but isn't a recurring character is murdered at about the start of the third act.
Even as an adult, Arf is a satisfying read. I have reviewed the first, Woof (2015) and third Bow Wow (2017) books already.