In The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper by Phyllis Entis, Damien (Dick) and Millie Dickens take a cruise of the Caribbean, scheduled to be on the Yankee Clipper. But they arrive to find the Silver Shadow waiting for them instead, and they are told that the Yankee Clipper sank two weeks earlier when it hit a rock. On this cruise, the pair meet Barb, who introduces herself as a nurse but is really a travel writer. A few months later, Dick and Millie are surprised to see Barb walk into their office. Someone has been following her, and Dick looks out the window to recognize a former PI who had his license taken away for crossing the law. The next morning, Millie is waiting for Barb to join her for breakfast when she sees a car hit Barb, seemingly deliberately, leaving the woman in the ICU in critical condition.
In the meantime, Dick and Millie learn about plots going on related to Turpin, a high powered casino owner who recently moved to town and won’t take no for an answer. They also have to do a routine investigation into a company a client is thinking of buying, but it turns out to be far from routine. All of these situations, including round- the- clock guarding of Barb in the ICU, may come back to cause them serious danger.
The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper has a good mystery that kept me drawn to the book. I really liked how it had several threads of research that seem unrelated but come together in the end. This time Dick and Millie truly perform as a team, each one using his or her strengths to get to the bottom of the case. I also really appreciated getting to learn more about Dick’s past, as we find out about his childhood and how he became a police officer.
Despite my overall positive experience with The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper, there were a couple minor details that detracted from the book. Unlike the previous two books, this book shifts regularly between first person and third person. While most of the time it makes this shift only while starting a new chapter, early in the book, it shifts abruptly between the points of view, making it confusing. The other minor issue that arises involves the use of the biblical verse Numbers 17:4 as a key to a cipher. Therefore, the incorrect statement that Numbers is the third book in the Bible, when it is really the fourth, would affect the cipher to make the code impossible to read. This isn’t very significant, but I did find it distracting.
Harry Dyson performs the audio edition of this book and does a good job. At first I had a little trouble adjusting to Dyson after having gotten used to Tom Lennon, but soon I found myself lost in the book with Dyson. He has created good voices for the characters and uses effective timing, making a significant difference in the level of drama in the book.
I had a good time listening to The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper. Even though I mention a couple of minor issues, they weren’t important enough to interfere with my overall enjoyment and appreciation of this fun, creative book. I give it five stars!
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the author, but that in no way had any influence on the content of my review.
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