The Adventures of Sherlock Bones turns snooping on its floppy ear when one day, Dr. Jane Catson, a surgeon injured in the Cat Wars has an afternoon nap interrupted by a most unusual occurrence.On the front lawn of her home, rather loud footsteps disturb her peace as Sherlock Bones, a Great Dane in a deerstalker claiming to be the greatest detective in the world arrives.After a quick critical examination of the intrusive dog whose enormous body blocks the entire sun from view, Catson has her doubts. But that’s not all. The monstrously-sized creature makes an even more astonishing claim. He has come to live with her!Before Catson can collect her thoughts into an intelligent rebuttal, Sherlock Bones has made himself quite at home, inventing things like a jetpack for her Castilian housekeeper-cook, a turtle named Mr. Javier and placing his gigantic food and water dishes next to hers.But there’s no time for protest. The great detective and Dr. Catson have caught themselves their first case: A suspiciously dead human in a nearby abandoned building. Can Sherlock Bones and Dr. Catson crack the case before the killer strikes again? Or will their differences get in the way of solving Case File No. 1? One thing’s for sure, that would be a doggone shame.
About the Author
Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of more than 25 books for adults, teens, and kids, including The Sisters 8 series for young readers which she created with her husband and daughter. She lives in Danbury, Connecticut.
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The Adventures of Sherlock Bones Case File #1: Doggone
By Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Month9BooksCopyright © 2016 Lauren Baratz-Logsted
All rights reserved.
There I was, lounging on the little patch of grass outside my home. It's a good spot from which to watch the world go by. And on a sunny day, it's a good spot for a nap. Being a cat, I don't tan the way humans do. But when the sun hits my fur, it's such a cozy, safe feeling.
I had recently returned, just a few months ago, from the Cat Wars. Like most wars — whether between humans or animals; within a species or between species — the Cat Wars were set off by a disagreement between two sides. One side says or does something the other doesn't like, and before you know it, rather than talk it out, everyone is fighting.
Of course, I had not fought in the Cat Wars; I'm not much of a fighter. I'm a doctor, a surgeon to be exact, one who operates on the wounded. But in wars, even non-fighting doctors can suffer injuries. And so it was that when my leg had been hurt, and it became clear that I would have a permanent limp for the rest of my lives, I was sent home to London, where I live alone except for the presence of my housekeeper/cook, Mr. Javier. The Cat Wars ended not long after my return home, with one side — the side opposite to mine — conceding defeat. Sadly, that came too late for my leg.
I'm sure you were surprised to learn that I am a doctor. Believe me, I understand. No one expects the cat to be a doctor. Humans, and other animals, believe wrongly that cats don't have enough focus to be professionals. And yet, a cat can spend more time focused on cleaning just one paw than an armadillo can spend deciding what to eat for lunch.
Some of us live more exciting lives than others expect we will. My own family expected me to settle down with a mate and have kittens, and I still might someday. But I wanted something more exciting. I wanted the most I could dream of, outside of chasing rabbits, and so I studied to become a surgeon. Being in a war, though, that had been plenty enough excitement for me. I was glad to be home again at good old 221B Baker Street, the two-story row house I've lived in since I got my license to practice medicine. It's a row house, meaning that it shares side walls with other houses. I don't mind having neighbors so much, so long as I don't have to talk to them. I live mostly on the second story of my home, using the lower half for storage and things; also, the ground floor is where Mr. Javier's quarters are. Not only does it allow him his own private space, but it's also easier for him to get to the front door from there. Living on the upper story further allows me to keep more distance between myself and the rest of the world.
Now all I wanted was peace and quiet and to nap in my yard.
Only, I couldn't stop thinking about the friend who had stopped by the day before. Let's call him Paul. When Paul arrived, he had looked about awkwardly, clearly hoping I would invite him in for a treat or perhaps a go at playing soccer with my ball of yarn. But I had no such desire. I'm not much for entertaining.
Paul had then told me that he had a friend who was looking for a place to live and that, after my adventures, he thought it would be good for me to have some regular company. I snorted. The very idea! I know what comes with regular company: irregular naps, that's what. As soon as I was done snorting, Paul mentioned how he knew I had plenty of rooms in my house and that he thought his friend would like those rooms very much. Also, he was tired of having his friend lodge with him and had exhausted his supply of other friends upon whom he might fob off this one. He told me his friend's name — Sherlock Bones — and I couldn't help but immediately think what an odd one it was.
That's when I told my friend to be on his merry way. I informed him that while I did not mind occasional company, I neither wanted nor needed regular company.
There, I thought, watching him go. Paul looked so glum, slouching away, his orange tail between his legs. That's taken care of!
Little did I know that I was about to learn just how wrong I was, and that, when it came to Sherlock Bones, nothing was ever easy.CHAPTER 2
Putting aside my thoughts of Paul's visit, I drifted off to sleep in my yard. I was enjoying the most lovely dream. In it, I was chasing rabbits — I would never hurt rabbits, mind you; I just like to chase them — when I heard the sound of loud panting in my ear.
Opening one eye, I saw a dog before me. But not just any dog. This dog was sitting back on hind legs, and, if I had to guess, I'd say it was a Great Dane wearing a deerstalker hat. Odd choice of hat, I thought, closing my eye again. I wasn't the slightest bit scared. In my experience, if I don't bother other creatures, they don't bother me. I figured if I just ignored it, it would go away.
"Dr. Catson, I presume?" the dog said.
This time, I opened both eyes.
"Who wants to know?" I asked warily.
"I am Sherlock Bones," the dog informed me.
That name sounded disturbingly familiar.
"I believe," the dog went on, "Our Mutual Friend said I would be stopping by?"
It took me a while to piece together what he was telling me. Yes, it had only been one day since Paul had come to call. But you must realize, I'd napped at least a dozen separate times since then. So for me, it felt like ages ago.
And then it hit me. Who this was. What this was about.
"He never said you were a dog!" I cried, outraged.
"And he never said you were a cat," the dog said. "But since he is one himself, I deduced that you were likely one as well."
"I told him," I said, "that I don't want a housemate."
"Yes, I believe he may have mentioned that small fact. But never mind that now, though, because —" And here, his eyes grew wide in excitement as he raised a paw in the air as though pointing at the sky. "The game's afoot!"
"Which one?" I yawned.
"Well, you have four feet, don't you? So I want to know: Which foot are we talking about?"
"That's not what I meant!"
"Then why on earth did you say it?"
I might have been wrong, but it did seem to me that the dog was starting to look annoyed.
"What I meant was," the dog said, a gleam of excitement filling his eyes again, "a crime has been committed!"CHAPTER 3
"By whom?" I asked.
"That's nothing new." Yawn. "Human are always committing one crime or another."
"Yes, but this time — "
I rose and stretched each of my front paws out one at a time, and then I arched my back to its fullest height as I turned away from him — ahh! — which immediately served to cut him off. It's amazing how turning your back on someone can have that effect. Then, I began to walk away.
"You're limping," he called after me.
"How observant of you," I said. "Yes, I was wounded in the Cat Wars."
"I've heard of those!" He seemed pleased to know this. "I heard you creatures fought like cats and ..."
I stopped him with a steely glare. "You were going to say 'cats and dogs,' weren't you?" I said.
"No." He seemed equally embarrassed and offended. "I was going to say ... 'cats and cats'! But never mind that now. I am so very sorry you were hurt. My good chap — "
"I'm not a chap."
"I'm a girl."
"I'm a lady!"
"I'm Dr. Jane Catson. People are always thinking it's John, but it's Jane."
Just like no one ever expects the cat to be a doctor, no one ever expects the cat doctor to be a female. Well, just because no one expects it, it doesn't mean it's impossible.
"Yes, well, as I was saying," he went on. "About the crime ..." Turning away from him once more, I proceeded toward the house.
"Come along, Bones," I invited.
"Actually, I prefer Sherlock, Jane."
"And I prefer 'Doctor' or 'Catson.' Come along then, Bones."
I could tell he wasn't going to leave until I'd listened to his story and, frankly, I did not want him to tell it to me on my front lawn where all the world — at least the neighborhood — could see.
After all, he was a dog.
What would the neighbors think?CHAPTER 4
As we walked up to my front door, the dog glanced up at the house number and remarked, "Ah, 221B — what a perfect address!"
"I've always thought so," I said dryly, then I reached out one paw to push in the small rectangle of my own personal entrance. I was about to step inside when I heard the dog cry out, "I'll never fit through there!" Then I heard him mutter, "When I move in, we shall have to install a bigger flap for me."
"You won't be staying around long enough for that," I said, pulling my hind legs through. Then I turned to poke my head back out through my flap. "You're a big boy," I told him. "Reach up to the handle and use the regular door."
He had some trouble with the doorknob — those great big clumsy paws of his — but once he was inside, I led him up the long flight of hardwood stairs, the center of which is lined with an Oriental carpet runner, to what I like to think of as my apartments. Even though I own the whole row house, since Mr. Javier lives on the first floor, it's cozier for me to think of the rooms on the second floor as my apartments.
"How cozy," he said, taking in the overstuffed sofa and side chairs, the roaring fire in the stone fireplace, the multiple scratching posts and the cushion in front of the bay window overlooking the road.
I sincerely hoped he wasn't going to go about pawing at all my things, picking up framed pictures and such as guests are sometimes inclined to do.
Instead he sat back, raised his front paws into fists and took fast jabs at the air in front of him. Then he nearly rose up on his hind legs and, with his left paw on his left hip, used his right paw to make big sweeping motions.
"What are you doing?" I demanded.
"Seeing if there's sufficient room in here for boxing and swordplay, two of my many hobbies. I do believe there is."
"Please," I said, "don't make yourself at home."
He seemed startled at my rudeness. But what could I say? I certainly wasn't about to encourage him.
"221B," he said again, stroking his chin, "on Baker Street. When we entered, I believe I saw a rabbit hanging the wash out of the window next door. Is that something new? Didn't Baker Street used to be part of the Cats-Only Quarter?"
"Yes, it is relatively new, if you call twenty years ago new, which was before both of our times; and yes, it used to be. Once it became widely understood and accepted that animals could speak – such a shock to humans when that happened! — the city was divided into quarters: the Cat Quarter, the Dog Quarter, the Human Quarter, and the Everything-Else Quarter. But then, eventually, the walls came down. London became one big melting pot although the species still don't have much tolerance for one another, the humans being the worst of the bunch. But surely, you must know all that."
"Of course I do. I merely wanted to see if you were up on your history. So many ignore the teachings of the past, much to their own harm."
Oh, great. Now he was wasting my time, getting me to tell him things he already knew.
"You mentioned something about a crime?" I prompted.
"That's correct. I am, as Our Mutual Friend may have informed you, a consulting detective."
"Our Mutual Friend never said anything about that."
"Yes, well, from time to time, people come to me with —" He stopped speaking as his long nose began to twitch. "Tomato?" he asked, pronouncing it wrong.
I nodded again.
"Turtle?" he asked, looking puzzled this time.
I must confess, his sense of observation was impressive. Well, his nose's was at any rate.
"Yes." I nodded a third time. "That would be Mr. Javier."
I turned and led us through a doorway into my well-equipped kitchen, Bones's nose quivering and sniffing the whole way. I worried that next, he'd be drooling. Well, it did smell good.
We watched as Mr. Javier, his white apron tied securely behind his shell and his chef's toque perched jauntily over one of his black eyes, carefully used a wooden spoon to stir the large boiling pots of pasta and sauce on the stove.
"That's Mr. Javier," I said. "He's making lunch."
"How extraordinary!" Bones said, observing the turtle. "Our Mutual Friend said you were intelligent, almost as intelligent as me —"
"Almost as intelligent a —"
"But I never dreamt ..." In an apparent state of awe, Bones approached the turtle, who — at this point — had stopped stirring his pasta in the pot and was now starting his slow, inching journey toward the canister of oregano. I do like a lot of oregano in my tomato sauce. Without asking permission, Bones picked up the turtle and turned him over, studying the underside closely as Mr. Javier's tiny chef's toque fell to the ground and his scaly little reptile legs waved helplessly in the air.
"But I don't understand," Bones said, clearly puzzled. Then he glanced up at me. "Where is the mechanism?"
"The mechanism for what?"
"This is a robot, isn't it? A robot you've designed yourself?"
"I'm not a robot!" Mr. Javier cried in his native Castilian accent, speaking to Bones for the first time. I'd never seen Mr. Javier so outraged before, and frankly, I was outraged on his behalf.
"He's not a robot!" I informed Bones. "He's real! He's a turtle, not to mention, my housekeeper and chef. Did I not say: 'That's Mr. Javier!'?"
The dog, still holding Mr. Javier, looked equal parts fascinated and dumbfounded.CHAPTER 5
"Oh, I see!" Bones set Mr. Javier back on the counter. "Yes, well, but wouldn't he be more efficient with a jetpack?"
"A jetpack. You know, a pack worn on the back and propelled by jets so that one can move more speedily from place to place?"
"I know what a jetpack is!" Actually, I had never heard of one before, but this dog did have a way of getting under my skin.
"Of course you didn't know what a jetpack was before I told you," he said. "You didn't know because they don't exist yet. But I shall rectify that by inventing one this very day."
"Whatever," I fumed. "What I don't know is why Mr. Javier would want one."
Bones immediately cast a meaningful gaze upon Mr. Javier, who had only progressed a few short inches toward the oregano while we were speaking. The oregano, which I should mention, was still a good two feet away. Lunch, I feared, would be late again.
"Actually, Boss," Mr. Javier admitted with a glance over his shoulder toward me, "I don't think I'd mind my own jetpack. Sometimes, just doing the marketing can take me several days."
"Fine," I sighed. "But where am I supposed to find a jetpack small enough —"
I trailed off as the dog raised one paw in the air in what was quickly becoming a familiar gesture, a silly struck-by-lightning look upon his face. "Did you not hear me before? I shall invent one!"
"Of course you shall." I yawned as I began to exit the room.
"Where are you going?" Bones called after me. "I was about to tell you about the crime that's been committed!"
"Mr. Javier," I said, ignoring Bones, "throw in some more pasta and add another place setting at the table. It looks like there'll be one more for lunch today."
"But where are you going?" Bones demanded.
"To take my nap."
"Didn't you just take one?"
"I take lots of naps." After my time in the Cat Wars, I needed even more rest than I once did. "You'll get used to it. Or rather, I should say, please don't get used to it. Oh, but while you are here?"
"Take off that ridiculous hat. You're in the house!"
As I curled up on my favorite place to nap inside the house, the floral cushion in the bay window that catches the afternoon sun and looks out upon the street, I thought about how, thus far, I was not hugely impressed with the dog. But in an hour, all of that would change.CHAPTER 6
In my dream, Mr. Javier was flying, and then a voice was calling, "Lunch is ready, Boss!"
Only it wasn't a dream.
As I opened one eye, I looked up to see Mr. Javier, his back bumping up against the high ceiling. There was something wrapped around his waist that wasn't his usual chef's apron. Also, somehow he'd got his chef's toque back.
I heard a loud, "Ahem!" and looked over to see the dog. Around him on the floor were scattered tools and fabric.
"You're still here," I observed.
"And you made Mr. Javier a jetpack while I was sleeping, didn't you?"
Excerpted from The Adventures of Sherlock Bones Case File #1: Doggone by Lauren Baratz-Logsted. Copyright © 2016 Lauren Baratz-Logsted. Excerpted by permission of Month9Books.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
sherlock, mystery, murder, dogs, cats, punfest What a marvelous way to introduce young readers to mysteries and especially the Sherlock ones! This first in series introduces the cast of characters with their foibles and assets. The publisher's blurb gives hints and there is no need for spoilers, but that can't begin to prepare you for all the laughs! The kids may not get all the puns,but that's the joy of having them read aloud, because we do! I won this free review copy in a giveaway.