The Masked Detective
There are several entertaining mysteries on the market told from an animal’s point of view. My favorite is Spencer Quinn’s Chet and Bernie series in which Chet, the dog, is spot-on in helping Bernie solve cases, even though he fails to understand Bernie’s concern over excessive water use in the desert. After all, as Chet tells us, the desert has water out the wazoo: in swimming pools, on golf courses, spewing from park fountains. It even appears instantly with the turn of a faucet. And there’s the delightful series written by Leonie Swann, which is told from Miss Maple the sheep’s point of view. Even Martha Grimes, who writes the Richard Jury series, wrote a few chapters in her book, A Grave Maurice, from a horse’s perspective.
As far as I know, no one has written a book from the viewpoint of the craftiest, sneakiest, most dexterous, and most agile (all necessary qualities in solving mysteries) animal known to man. He can swashbuckle rings around the Three Musketeers; he’s more mysterious that the Phantom of the Opera; and he makes Zorro look like an amateur. Why these literary references? Because the topic this month is mask, and this animal is born with its own very own.
I’ve had firsthand experience with the little buggers. They used to stick their paws through the doggie door, scaring the heck out of my dogs. One night I caught several of the miscreants swinging on my hammock. Annoyed, I turned on the porch light and spied on their fun. One fellow even picked the lock to my bird pen, freeing all the pigeons. I knew it was a raccoon because of all the footprints.
If I wrote this series, my detective would be a not-too-smart fellow who couldn’t find his own shoes and has to rely on his pet raccoon to bring him clues. The detective’s name would be Sam Suede and the raccoon, Dashing Hammock. Dash refers to his partner as Slow-Witted Sam and can’t understand how a living creature, especially a human, can be so dense and ill equipped for the job. Slow-Witted can barely see in the dark; his hearing is limited to useless noises like those coming from talking boxes (TV, radios, cell phones, laptops); and he couldn’t smell a rat if it hopped on his nose. Dash can do all of these things and even more.
So, should I begin this new mystery series?
Kathleen Kaska writes the Classic Mystery Triviography Series.™ Her The Sherlock Holmes Triviography and Quiz Book was a finalist for the 2013 EPIC award in nonfiction. Kathleen also writes the Sydney Lockhart Mysteries. Her latest, Murder at the Driskill, features a twelve-year-old female Sherlock Holmes impersonator.