A retired detective and his talking dog sniff out clues and save the day in this English translation of a Polish story, one of a series, first published in 2013.
When Timothy Pipestem features Cody, “the most brilliant dog in the world,” in his “epoch-making work,” Portraits of Extraordinary Dogs, elderly Ambrosius Nosegoode worries that his old friend might leave him behind for fame and glory. Although Cody doesn’t want to abandon his human, two mysterious dognappers have another plan to use the dog’s celebrated intelligence for a crime. While Nosegoode follows on the tails of the miscreants, Cody waits for the right moment to unmask their next plot. The original black-and-white illustrations accompany the text and depict an all-white cast of humans. Despite the charming premise, Orlon’s troubling characterization of the two dognappers dates the story. In their introduction as the authors of a mysterious note, Nosegoode assumes that their spelling errors indicate a lack of intelligence. Later on, Cody decides one of the two boys doesn’t “look very likeable” because he has “a face covered in spots”; the other is described as “short and plump, like a barrel.” The adolescent criminals receive harsh justice in the abrupt resolution when Nosegoode’s coincidental knowledge about a book helps him uncover their plans.
Like Detective Nosegoode, this outdated chapter book for transitioning readers deserves to retire. (Mystery. 6-8)