Chet, canine half of the Little Detective Agency (Thereby Hangs a Tail, 2010, etc.), is just the sleuth to find a missing circus elephant.
No doubt about it: Peanut is the star attraction of the Drummond Family Traveling Circus. So Bernie Little and his son Charlie are disappointed to find a “No Show Today” sign on the big top when they arrive with their free tickets. Both the precocious pachyderm and her trainer, Uri DeLeath, have disappeared. Popo the Clown hires Bernie to find the missing pair, but it’s Chet who follows Peanut’s scent right past the security booth. Could guard Darren Quigley be slacker enough to have missed an escapee the size of Peanut? When Quigley points Bernie in the direction of Free All Animals Now, Chet’s nose—however disappointed by the aroma of Nadia Worth’s chili, which turns out to be vegetarian—says the animal-rights activists aren’t hiding the missing circus beast. Acrobat Ollie Filipoff says he saw an 18-wheeler marked with four roses on its side on the circus grounds the night of the disappearance. But Tex Rosa, owner of Cuatro Rosas Trucking, says all his rigs were out of state that night. When Darren’s thuggish friend Jocko attacks the pair with a baseball bat, Chet saves Bernie’s bacon (“Bacon? There’d been bacon last night?” wonders Chet) and Bernie realizes that whoever kidnapped the circus pair isn’t playing for peanuts.
Tender-hearted Chet and literal-minded Bernie are the coolest human/pooch duo this side of Wallace and Gromit.