Canine Detective Chris Volume 1: The Shiba Inu Detective Tracks Down the Stolen Jewels!
I at first thought Canine Detective Chris Volume 1: The Shiba Inu Detective Tracks Down the Stolen Jewels! was a manga, given the cute cover. I was wrong — it’s a light novel, an easy read aimed at kids with a double handful of illustrations. It’s written by Tomoko Tabe, illustrated by KeG, and translated by Stephen Paul.
Chris (nicknamed from Christie, after the author) has to retire as a police dog. He was stung on the nose by a bee and developed a fear of bugs. Hinata’s grandfather, a dog trainer, brings the dog to Hinata. He’s always wanted a pet, and his parents, who run a vet clinic, think taking care of the dog would help him get over his shyness. The other major character is Mayuka, Hinata’s neighbor and friend, an outgoing girl.
Hinata learns to take care of his new, very smart dog, and Chris fetches help when Hinata, for example, hurts himself. Then a jewelry store in the nearby shopping district is robbed, and the kids and dog get involved in finding out what happened.
It’s a cute adventure in which Chris gets several opportunities to use his tracking abilities and demonstrate bravery. There’s also set up of a continuing plotline, and some adorable pictures. (I wish there were more, as seeing Chris in action is great!) I’m planning on giving this to some kids I know, as it’s a good introduction to mystery fiction.
Volume 2, The Shiba Inu Detective Investigates a Haunted Mansion!, is due out next March. (The publisher provided a review copy.)