Ah, the critics. Who are they and what do they want from me? Well, apparently, one critic doesn’t want anything at all from Yours Truly. She calls me “annoying” and is looking for the exit.
Of course, any sentient creature with an ounce of introspection and humility will upon looking at him or herself in the mirror consider this “annoying” possibility about themselves. But on balance I think I am more genial than annoying, more helpful than hindrance and more open to the wonders of being alive than not. I also wag my tail quit a bit and seem happy whether it is a black Monday in my soul or not.
Yet my critic is right. Being a dog is a handicap and I have other qualities that do not make me an optimal detective, but really I was thrust into this role by events rather than having hung a shingle on the door as a coke-enthused Sherlockian equipped with an Oxbridge education. Certainly my critic is also correct that far more happens to me than is affected by me. Of course, it seems to me that this is a better reflection of how things actually work in this universe of accident, happenstance, incompetence and long stretches of non-events with dramatic climaxes and disappointing anti-climaxes and fires to put out not of our own making.
I post an excerpt of her scathing indictment on this Labrador below and re-reading it realize that, in fact, it is one of the highest (unintentional) compliments. I almost wish this could be the new back jacket blurb for A Dog Among Diplomats since it captures many of the virtues of the book. My critic wishes to return with delight to her world of police procedurals with their slick doses of action-hero realism. All the best. Meanwhile I will remain here in the imperfect but often delightful world where we are fat, flawed and soulful, loyal but not sugary, and a true and firm companion to my readers who ‘get me’.
“Being a dog seems to be much more of a handicap than an advantage. He did very little to discover facts or influence events, became a victim several times over, and kept annoying me. He talked about ways to communicate with his owner by spelling words with alphabet cereal, or using a laptop computer, but he never actually did it, missing several important opportunities to convey information or ask for help. He did use the computer to order books online, and was delighted about that, but it was irrelevant to the plot. The crime plot is very complex and far-fetched, with various spies trying to kill somebody and deceive each other, a possible bomb attack at the UN, and the dog’s owner missing since the last book, but perhaps still alive and about to reappear. More attacks occur and Randolph is in danger, but he has to depend on others for rescue, and does not really solve the crime.”
For the rest of this review and many others, please visit http://www.librarything.com/work/5290127/book/29530791