Authors have often used animals as great characters and narrators for children’s books. Who hasn’t read Frog and Toad, The Wind in the Willows, Charlotte’s Web, or Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH? (If you are that person, I recommend catching up on all of them, because you’re missing out.)
Still, in the back of my mind, this was a motif only used by the authors of children’s books. Adults need human narrators for their books, right?
Wrong. Plenty of authors have figured out how to make animals the star of the show. While there are some classics (Watership Down, anyone?) and some serious titles like The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, the mystery writers have done a good job of using animals to make their genre more entertaining.
The classic cat mystery series begins with Wish You Were Here by Rita Mae Brown. Harry, a small-town postmaster, realizes that people being murdered have all received a postcard with a tombstone on it prior to their deaths. Harry is on the trail of the killer, but doesn’t realize that her cat, Mrs. Murphy, and dog, Tucker, are way ahead of her.
A newer dog mystery series starts with Dog On It, by Spencer Quinn. Bernie is a private detective who takes on the case of a mother looking for her missing teenage daughter. Chet, Bernie’s dog, proves to be just as good a sleuth as his owner—unless Chet gets distracted by something like, say, the scent of bacon.
If you’re not into reading the perspective of pets, you can try a sheep mystery, Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann. Sheep aren’t known for being the smartest animals in the world, but when George Glenn shows up in the pasture with a spade lodged in him, his sheep decide to find out who killed their shepherd.
If you’re looking for a fun read with a different perspective, give one of these a try. You might get hooked—and you might start looking at your pets a little differently.