Meet Yorkshire terrier detective Samuel Blackthorne as seen through the eyes of his chronicler, friend, and fellow canine, Edward R. Smithfield, a retired veterinarian. In their first thrilling case together, they come to the assistance of elegant greyhound, Molly Kirkpatrick, who seeks their help to find out why her brother, Patrick, a shy, hardworking accountant, failed to return from a neighborhood pub the night before.
Written in the style of Sherlock Holmes' Dr. Watson, Smithfield's meticulous narrative describes Blackthorne's "uncanny ability to see things other dogs couldn't and to smell things other dogs wouldn't" as he prowls the foggy streets of San Francisco in 1887 and contends with kidnapping, gambling, nefarious politicians, and even murder. Blackthorne's special talent is in employing the powers of observation and deduction.
When readers then migrate to the source of Scott Emerson's dog-based homage, the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, they will recognize and appreciate the ornate Victorian style of the narrative and revel in the diabolically clever deductive reasoning skills of the great detective. The videos and movies about Sherlock Holmes starring Basil Rathbone or Jeremy Brett make for some fine watching and a stirring introduction to the series.
Reviewed by JF.
THEMES: CATS. DOGS. MYSTERY AND DETECTIVE STORIES.
Simon & Schuster, 2003
Suggested Ages: 9 and Up