Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

MONTY & ME by Louisa Bennet – my review no.26

on 10/07/2015

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Pure joy to read! Intense, insightful and fun!

Monty and Me took me by surprise, not only because of the fact that it is a crime story told from the perspective of a dog (how cool is that, all you dog fans out there;)?), but by its wonderfully positive humour and charming style. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this ARC which I received in exchange for an honest review.

By page 18 I had already realized that I had smiled, giggled and even laughed more than 10 times. Anyone who loves either reading or writing knows full well it is not an easy task to get laughs out of printed pages. Louisa Bennet does humour naturally, her wit is unforced and clever, her tone so easy to follow that reading goes quite easy and you simply breeze through the text.

Monty, the accidental detective, is not just a dog, but a fully-fledged character, and one you will grow to like from his initial accounts of his duck and food addiction, through his interpretation of human behaviour, to his emotional description of his owner’s murder, and on and on. I am trying to avoid spoilers as best I can, but cannot, so let me just mention a few I instantly fell in love with – Monty and Betty chatting, the interpretation of the nickname Legless, Mr Google, Monty’s account of his rapport with his new owner, his judgment of Rose’s mentor and his sexist attitude, Dante the intellectual magpie being seduced by a… stopping now, before I spill the beans.

To those who take a stern view to an adult mystery being told with humour and through the eyes of an animal, either give it a chance and have some open-minded fun, or stop taking things too seriously, or avoid this book. To those of you who love animals and mystery, you will enjoy this book for more reasons than one. Although to some it may seem like two books blended together (one more child-like with animals talking and one an adult mystery), for me it is not. I love the blend.

Normally, I love an author who shows the story appealing to all of the readers’ senses. As should be expected, this author does all that,  but puts particular emphasis on scents, which works out splendidly, because Monty uses them not only to interpret situations, but people’s character, past and present. The scent descriptions attached to feelings such as fear and sadness are simply amazing! But it is not only a book with animals in it, don’t get me wrong. The bounty and complexity of human characters, their behaviour and inter-relations only gain in expresiveness and impact by adding the animal view on things. The author weaves her tapestry very cleverly. Human relationships are completely convincing – Leach and his stern, yet fair, attitude towards Rose, an interesting rapport between Rose and Varma, not to mention Rose’s romantic crush and her family history. I especially enjoyed the very illustrative and intriguing description of teenager Finn from the very first time we meet him.

As more animals get involved in the investigation, the reader becomes more curious about how the murder mystery will be solved, how Monty will communicate his findings to Rose, or even who finds the killer first – humans or animals. The murder case being linked to the possible extinction of bees is quite up to date, and might even interest Morgan Freeman;), and as the initial crime escalates more and more, the reader comes to a nail biting finale! I would not sleep till I finished the last 70 or so pages, written in an excellent pace, more and more intense by the end. Then there’s the calm before the storm and then… Bang!
If you are looking for sex and gore in your mystery, you might not find all that here. If you like dogs, you will love this. If you like intense mysteries, you will love this. If you like clever books which mix genres, you will love Monty and Me. If you like fluency and wit in writing, you will love this book. I for one am looking forward to the next mystery solved by Rose and Monty!

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Monty and Me on Amazon

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