________________ CM . . . . Volume IV Number 10 . . . . January 16, 1998

cover What's a Daring Detective Like Me Doing in the Doghouse?

Linda Bailey.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 1997.
185 pp., paper, $4.95.
ISBN 1-55074-398-8.

Subject Headings:
Dogs-Juvenile fiction.
Practical jokes-Juvenile fiction.
Detective and mystery stories.

Grades 3 - 6 / Ages 8 - 11.
Review by Alison Mews.

*** /4


Flipping open a little leather case, he flashed a gold badge at me. "Special Agent Deke Rifkin. I'm on assignment with the President of the United States. Can I talk with you for a minute? It's about a lost dog." This was it.

It was actually happening.

If I could have wished myself off to some faraway place - Africa, say, or Antarctica - I would have done it. Even if I couldn't come back for ten years. Or even twenty. I would have done it, I swear. "Can I come in?" asked Special Agent Rifkin a moment later, when I still hadn't said anything.

Behind me, I heard a shaky voice. "Stevie? Who's that?" I took a deep breath and licked my lips. Good. My tongue still worked.

"It's ...uh, Special Agent Rifkin," I said it over my shoulder in a strange, raspy voice I didn't recognize. "He wants to, um, talk to us about ... about a dog."

"This will just take a minute," said Agent Rifkin, stepping inside. "You are?"

"Stevie Diamond," I said, still in that weird voice.

In her fifth escapade, would-be detective Stevie Diamond finds out that the stray dog she inadvertently dyed swampwater green is none other than the stolen pet of the visiting President of the United States. So it should be easy to just give it back, right? But nothing is that straightforward in this fast-paced adventure where coincidences and hasty conclusions drive the twists and loops of plot like wind does a kite.

      Stevie and her partner-in-crime-detection, Jesse, find a filthy matted dog at the Barking Buddies daycare where Stevie is working during spring break. In an attempt to clean it and remove the burrs, they manage to dye it green and cut out chunks of hair, rendering it virtually unrecognizable as the President's lost pooch. By the time Stevie and Jesse catch on, they are suspects in the dog-napping. Between shampooing out Swampwater's (alias Marietta's) dye and eluding the secret service, the two kids play amateur detectives in a frantic race against time. Just when it all looks hopeless, they manage to discover the identity of the real culprit and deliver him to the authorities.

      Bailey has created likeable characters in her heroine Stevie and sidekick Jesse. A previous Stevie Diamond mystery won the juvenile award given by the Crime Writers of Canada, and others have been short-listed. Breezy in style, with sit-com humour and plenty of underwear jokes that appeal to her target audience, this book will not sit long on the shelf. Young mystery fans, and those already introduced to Stevie Diamond, will be eager to check out this book.


Alison Mews is the Coordinator of the Centre for Instructional Services in the Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364