A Dog Among Diplomats is the second in the “Bull Moose Dog Run Mystery Series” by J.F. Englert. These are delightful mysteries told from the point of view of a very proper, educated (self-taught from training newspapers) dog. Randolph is sentient, but more educated (in his own opinion) than other dogs.
This black Labrador retriever and his master Harry are suffering from the disappearance of Imogen, Harry’s girlfriend and Randolph’s original owner. Harry doesn’t realize Randolph is sentient, and Randolph himself doesn’t quite understand the phenomenon, but certainly wants to keep it a secret. “Only recently,” Randolph confides, “had I watched a National Geographic team on television sedate a harbor seal for ‘its own good’ and attach a camera to its head.’” Nevertheless, there are some moments when he just has to communicate with Harry. In the first book, he used Harry’s Alpha-Bits. In the second book, Harry believes he has developed a wheat allergy, and so rids the house of little letters that can be pushed into place by a canine nose. The intrepid Randolph has no choice but to go online, set himself up with an email account, and try (not always successfully) to bypass all the book sales (sometimes with accompanying free tote bag!) and send messages to Harry.
The reason for urgency is yet another murder that, as in the first novel, is somehow tied to the missing Imogen. In order to get to the bottom of things, Randolph finds he must ignore the rich smells of food and analyze the more complex scents of human emotions. In the process of helping to solve the crime, Randolph has a number of adventures: riding about town on the back of a Vespa; mingling at the U.N. among diplomats; falling ill (he felt “a bit eleven o’clockish, as Pooh Bear might say”); foiling some other murder attempts; and saving Harry’s life. All in a day’s work for this lover of liver sausage, crème-filled donuts, belly rubs, and James Joyce.
Englert takes a little time to hit his stride again in this second book; some of Randolph’s adventures are a bit over the top; and one of the characters even drops out from the plot! All the same it’s light and silly and endearing and fun. I look forward to reading more about the likeable Harry and Randolph.
Published by Dell Publishing Company, 2008