The latest in Clea Simon’s “Pru Marlowe Pet Noir Mysteries, ” “When Bunnies Go Bad,” was published by Poisoned Pen Press March 1. Normally, I am not a fan of mysteries where animals are anthropomorthized into crime-solving sleuths. The Pru Marlowe Pet Noir series is entirely an animal of a different color. The protagonist, Marlowe, is an animal behaviorist, and in that role, her ability to read her animal charges’ fears and warnings is totally believable. There are no talking dogs and cats in this book; only animals who read danger into dangerous situations and who convey those concerns through their body language and vocalizations.
In “When Bunnies Go Bad” Pru helps to solve the disappearance of a work of art from a local museum and the murder of an obnoxious tourist. She gets some of her clues through the reactions of the spaniel owned by the dead tourist and his ski bunny girlfriend. There’s the inevitable conflict with her sometime boyfriend, Police Detective Jim Creighton, who asks that Pru not get involved for her own safety. A mysterious former gangster, Gregor Benazi, also seems to appear at regular intervals? Is he a threat, or is he secretly working with the FBI to solve the murder and the art heist? Is the sinister FBI agent who takes over the case really working at odds with the law on behalf of Benazi’s shady associates, or is he teamed with Benazi to bring justice?
“When Bunnies Go Bad” is an enjoyable addition to the Pru Marlowe Pet Noir series.