Monday, June 13, 2011
Okay...how could I resist A PUG'S TALE by Alison Pace given this cover? Too cute, right? And then I read the description of this novel and it sounded like it was part chick-lit, part mystery. That was pretty much the icing on the cake. A PUG'S TALE sounded downright adorable. And perfect for an afternoon at the pool!
A PUG'S TALE was a very cute book and it certainly lived up to my expectations. While there was a mystery aspect to this novel, it wasn't a traditional mystery book. It was more of a chick lit story with a mystery angle. I found myself liking the book more because of the main characters of Hope and her dog Max rather than the whodunit part of the story. I enjoyed that the novel was written in Hope's first person voice because she was just a sweet and very likable character (and also rather funny.) And I couldn't help but smile every time Hope mentioned her adoration of Max.
Hope is definitely one of the best things about this book -- I really liked her. Her boyfriend Ben is away trying to "save the world" while Hope is living in New York with his dog Max. She works as an art restorer at the Met; however, her life is turned upside down when she discovers that a famous painting is missing. Rather than involve the police, Hope and a few co-workers decide to try to figure out the crime by themselves. When Hope receives a series of clues, she attempts to track down the culprit by herself. Thankfully, between the clues, Hope's dreams, and Max's sixth sense, she eventually discovers the secret behind the art heist.
I think dog lovers are going to love Max and appreciate Hope's devotion to her dog. As someone who wouldn't classify herself as a dog lover, I still loved Max -- he sounded so darn cute. While this novel didn't have me running out to get a dog, I did think it was creative use of a character to use a dog as Hope's sidekick in an art heist investigation.
As far as the mystery aspect of the story goes, it was fairly predictable. However, I wasn't really expecting much more out of this type of book. (I don't mean that in a negative way -- just being honest about my expectations.) The crime wasn't very complex and there were a few twists, but I definitely wasn't surprised by the final outcome. But that's okay. I just read this book for fun and didn't even attempt to figure out the inner workings or the motive behind the art heist.
A PUG'S TALE is actually a sequel to PUG HILL, but don't let that stop you from picking it up. I haven't read PUG HILL, and I definitely thought A PUG'S TALE worked as a stand-alone. I'm sure there were a few references that might have meant more to me had I read the books in order, but I figure, "What I don't know won't hurt me." (I actually don't even think the first book was a mystery at all.)
There is a reading guide available for A PUG'S TALE, but if I'm being totally honest, it wouldn't be my first pick for either of my book clubs. That's not to say that the book wasn't enjoyable... because it was. It just wasn't quite as "literary" as my group tends to read. Having said that, A PUG'S TALE might be work if your group is looking for a lighter read especially during the busy summer months. There are some topics which do lend themselves to discussion though. For example, you might want to explore who you thought was the culprit, whether you were surprised by the ending, and what the motives were. In addition, Hope is a pretty interesting character. You could discuss her feeling towards her co-workers, her boyfriend and (my favorite) her pug.
I thought A PUG'S TALE was a fun story and I wouldn't hesitate to read another book by Ms. Pace. If you enjoy chick lit and/or cute mysteries, then I definitely recommend A PUG'S TALE.
Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this novel.
Mystery Mondays is a "somewhat" regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.