The Spotted Dog is the seventh book in the popular Corinna Chapman series by Australian author, Kerry Greenwood. A series of dramatic events for Corinna Chapman, baker and reluctant investigator, kicks off early on a hot Monday morning when Sergeant Alasdair Sinclair stumbles to the back door of her Earthly Delights bakery. An ex-British Army veteran of Afghanistan, Alasdair seeks the help of Corinna’s beloved, Daniel Cohen, to find Geordie, his faithful spotted dog, missing since Alasdair was mugged in the street. Alasdair is certain that Geordie, a talented sniffer dog who saved thousands from IEDs, has been kidnapped.
While Daniel makes enquiries, Corinna has to step in to save one of Insula’s IT nerds from Del’s wrath when the computer at Café Delicious erupts with ransomware. And with several newcomers to their block and the neighbourhood, a spate of incursions breaching Insula’s usually-safe walls requires Corinna’s subtle interrogation and observation. One of the inept intruders is caught red-handed in Professor Monk’s apartment, but the others are more evasive.
Fans of the series who have had to wait seven years between instalments will not be disappointed with Corinna’s latest outing: as well as her usual baking activities, Corinna encounters a religious zealot, an accident victim with post-traumatic aphasia, an ice-addled machete-wielding youth and a singing burglar; she suffers a king-hit (with resultant bilateral black eyes), uses an old skillet to good effect, steps on a mouse and has a narrow escape when the guns and explosives start going off. All the Insula regulars get a mention, if not a significant role, and we finally learn Mrs Pemberthy’s true purpose.
This is a book probably best not read on an empty stomach: the multiple mentions of mouth-watering products of the bakery are bound to have the reader drooling; indeed, apart from Kylie and Goss, all the characters have refreshingly healthy appetites and indulge them regularly. Luckily, there are seven recipes included at the end. Each chapter is headed with a Shakespearean quote and the descriptions of feline activities will delight cat-lovers. The party at the end is somewhat reminiscent of each final chapter of a certain Scottish series about a block of flats. Fingers crossed we don’t have to wait seven years for the next one. Utterly delightful!
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Allen & Unwin.