Louisa Bennet  joins Dave on the good read to talk  Monty, the dog detective, who  has bounded into a second mystery with the publication of Louisa Bennet’s, The Bone Ranger, by Clan Destine Press.

Monty is a food-obsessed, naughty, and totally loving Golden Retriever who will do anything for his owner, Detective Constable Rose Sidebottom.

The dog detective mysteries are set in the quaint English countryside and brings together the canine crime-solving of the TV series Rex with the humour of the Twitter mega-hit Thoughts of Dog:

In Monty & Me, the first in the series, Monty uses his formidable nose to track down the killer of his earlier master. He manages to find a home with Rose who’s investigating the case. Together, with the assistance of a network of unique informers who communicate via wee-mail, they solve the crime despite the opposition of her colleagues.

Primarily narrated in first-person-dog (!), The Bone Ranger begins with Rose at home on sick leave with PTSD. But Rose isn’t happy unless she’s investigating crimes and Monty is worried about her. Then a stranger begs for help to find a missing person.

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The case soon becomes a murder investigation, and Rose’s boss warns her not to interfere. But when dogs also start disappearing, Monty and Rose have no choice and set out to solve it. The adventure leads Monty on a collision course with his greatest nightmare – the Bone Ranger – a brutal dognapper who stole his mother away when he was a tiny pup.

Louisa Bennet writes hard-bitten thrillers under the name of LA Larkin but she has a big soft spot for her dog detective series.

“The Monty series is a salve to the darkness of the characters I usually write about. I love dogs and my twelve-year old golden retriever, Pickles, is my inspiration for Monty. Writing Monty’s adventures is such fun. I find myself smiling as I pound away on the keyboard. I imagine what dogs get up to when I – and other ‘hoomans’ as Monty calls us – are not around,” Bennet said.

“The dog detective mysteries are so different to my thrillers, there’s no graphic violence or sex, no swearwords, and a happy ending is guaranteed. The stories are uplifting. For me, as an author, they are also therapeutic.”

Bennet made a deliberate decision to set the books in England.

“I work very closely with a retired detective in England but my main motivation was to set the stories in a village like the one I grew up in Surrey. It’s a world of thatched cottages, duck ponds and squirrels that hang upside down from trees,” she said.

“The books are written for adults – particularly those who want to tap into their inner child – but they can be read by any child who’s up to reading Harry Potter. They particularly love the way that the dogs communicate by ‘wee-mail’ or by a ‘howlathon’ if messages need to travel over long distances. And everyone laughs when the magpie pecks on the keyboard to gain computer access. Monty’s paws, are of course, a bit too big.”

Bennet is adamant that readers don’t have to be dog lovers to enjoy the Monty books.

“Cat devotees tell me that they love Monty’s adventures. They know, like me, that animals are a lot smarter than most of us presume. And every day, scientific research bears that out,” she says.

Bennet is hard at work on the third book in the series, The Nosy Detectives.

Bennet, who lives in Sydney, is co-founder of a 2000 strong group of dog lovers called Callan Park Dog Lovers, and a tireless champion of off-leash parks.

This is second Clan Destine Press book to feature an animal detective. Published a few months ago is Who Sleuthed It? (Clan Destine Press), Lindy Cameron’s collection of 19 stories from Australia, Ireland, the UK and the USA, which features cats, dogs, a magpie, a harrier hawk, rats, mice, foxes, chipmunks, Great Horned Owls, bears, spiders and even a weredog.