story by Yuma Ando; art by Yuki Sato
published by Kodansha Comics; $10.99 US
Nothing has changed about this series — Sherdog and Takeru are still solving mysteries based on the puppy’s observations — which means if you liked the previous volumes, you should like Sherlock Bones Book 4. (Although pace yourself. Too much at once makes the repetition even more obvious. This might be one of those rare manga that read better as chapters than collected volumes, since there aren’t a lot of complicated plot twists or deep revelations.)
We open with the conclusion to a mystery from Book 3, about a school election marred by a faked naughty photo to try and knock one of the candidates out of the race. This mystery was a pleasant change, since it didn’t require Sherdog seeing the crime done to know what happened, and it nicely took into consideration modern technology.
Similar to the last book, this volume ends on a cliffhanger, as we only get the first chapter of a case about a lady mayor killing her blackmailer. In between, there’s a one-chapter story about finding a quickly hidden stolen wallet. It’s more notable for the introduction of Meowriarity, an evil-looking cat that we’re hinted will return as Sherdog’s reincarnated rival.
Two other full cases show Takeru learning to make deductions on his own. The first features a plagiarizing manga writer who steals a mystery plot from his apprentice, a classmate of Takeru’s and Miki’s who’s killed to avoid revealing the theft. I found the details intriguing, but the pacing rushed, in part to shove in a dramatic change where Sherdog temporarily gets amnesia and acts like a regular dog. The second is more of a logic puzzle, figuring out which of three men on a subway car pushed a girl in front of the train.
There is one very strange thing about this book that I must mention. Some pages have wide margins on the outside edge while words and art almost disappear into the spine. It’s as though the whole book is off by one, with the odd pages supposed to be even and vice versa. One spacer page, and this book would have been much easier, physically, to read. (The publisher provided a review copy.)