The Bone Ranger by Louisa Bennet

‘The big secret is that dogs pretend to be dumb so that hoomans don’t feel threatened.’

This is the second time I’ve met Monty and his human companion, Detective Constable Rose Sidebottom. My first encounter was only a short one (‘When the Chips Are Down’) but it had me intrigued. In ‘The Bone Ranger’, Monty and Rose become entangled in both a murder investigation and a series of dog-nappings.

‘I sniff two warning wee-mails.

Dogs are disappearing. Stay home, stay safe.

He who must not be named is back! Be vigilant.’

Rose is on sick leave, and while she wants to return to work, she is having trouble complying with the medical fitness requirements. Monty, who loves Rose dearly, has his patience tested when Rose insists on washing his yellow toy duck. Hoomans just do not understand:

‘At least my bed carries my doggy aroma. The smells that come with me to bed at night are the memories of that day and they rub off on the bed cover. When I sniff my bed, all those memories come flooding back. Wash my bed and the result is olfactory amnesia. A terrible affliction.’

But back to the case of The Bone Ranger. Monty can enlist help from his friends Betty the rat and Nigel the squirrel. Dante the magpie also helps with aerial surveillance. If only Rose could understand when Monty tries to share some of the clues with her! [We hoomans can be so slow, as my own late doggy companion Sir Bruce the Battle Rat could have attested. Sir Bruce, a Jack Russell Terrier, would have loved to assist Monty, although he may not have been quite so keen on Betty.]

And poor Rose. While she can tell whether someone is telling the truth (or not) it is hard for her to help when she’s been directed not to. But our intrepid detectives are not deterred, and together after a misadventure or two, they sniff out the culprits.

I really enjoyed this novel: wondering whether Rose would make the breakthrough she needed and hoping that Monty could communicate the information he received from his wide network of advisers and informers. After all, lives are at stake!

Jennifer Cameron-Smith



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