Book Review: Play Dead, A Dog and His Girl Mysteries #1 by Jane B. Mason and Sarah Hines Stephens


Play Dead, A Dog and His Girl Mysteries #1 by Jane B. Mason and Sarah Hines Stephens
A dog and his girl show how six legs are better than two in this brand new mystery series!

When Dodge, a German shepherd police dog, finds himself retired after an accident leaves him deaf in one ear, he’s lucky to be adopted by the perfect family. Twelve-year-old Cassie Sullivan, his girl, smells almost as good as a dog, and gets her nose for sleuthing from her police chief mom and coroner dad. Cassie is smart and quick on her feet, and doesn’t mind breaking a couple rules to get to the bottom of a mystery. Dodge has forty-two dog years of experience solving crime, as well as a great network of other four-legged colleagues when he needs more intel.

When Verdel Ward, the richest man in town, goes missing, it seems like everyone from the mayor to the housekeeper wants his fortune, which he’s left behind with no will. But Cassie and Dodge can smell a mystery from a mile away, and can’t help wondering why a miser would go swimming in a dangerous cove, what’s up with the suspicious fiancee, who’s been sneaking around the mansion, and where a twin brother has come from.

Reading level: Ages 8 and up
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (February 1, 2013)

About the Authors:
Jane B. Mason and Sarah Hines Stephens both live in Oakland, California, where they spend their time writing books, including the Candy Apple titles The Sister Switch and Snowfall Surprise, and keeping up with their respective children.

My Thoughts:
It started off kind of slow and a little confusing, but cleared up quickly. I really enjoyed the split point of view between Cassie and Dodge (the dog).  This is a fun middle grade mystery that will appeal to young readers of both genders. I really liked the way the plot played out and how the book ended.

While the glimpses of Cassie’s time at school gave the story a realistic feel, I wasn’t sure what the point of Summer was. The conflict between the girls seemed irrelevant to the rest of the story.

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