cover image When Bunnies Go Bad: A Pru Marlowe Pet Noir

When Bunnies Go Bad: A Pru Marlowe Pet Noir

Clea Simon. Poisoned Pen, $26.95 (264p) ISBN 978-1-4642-0535-4

Simon’s uneven sixth Pru Marlowe Pet Noir (after 2015’s Kittens Can Kill) finds Beauville, Mass., brimming with bunnies: Henry, the Eastern cottontail whose strange conduct is troubling his 84-year-old babysitter; Bunny in the Sun, the painting recently stolen from a famous art museum; and Cheryl Ginger, the ski bunny whose boyfriend, Teddy Rhinecrest, was murdered shortly after he publicly humiliated her at a local restaurant. Pru, an animal behaviorist (and secret animal psychic), is only concerned with Henry—or so says her boyfriend, police officer Jim Creighton—but when Cheryl’s dog also becomes a client, Pru can’t help getting mixed up in Teddy’s murder investigation. Pru’s method for communicating with Beauville’s nonhuman residents is cleverly conceived, and Simon neatly incorporates these exchanges into her tale, but the plot lacks focus, and the pace drags. Fair play mystery fans may be disappointed, but animal lovers will be delighted. Agent: Colleen Mohyde, Doe Coover Agency. (Mar.)