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Volume VIII Number 10 . . . . January 18, 2002
Sam, the sheepdog sleuth, is on the case again. In this latest book by Mary Labatt, Sam and his human friends, Jennie and Beth, are on holiday at an old cabin on Sagawa Lake. Sam expects that the holiday will be a bore as what kind of mystery would you find in a forest. Of course, Sam is wrong. Jennie and Beth discover an old journal which has been hidden in their bedroom wall, and its contents lead them to believe that "evil lurks" in the lake. When they set out to find the evil, a mystery unfolds. The girls are helped in solving the mystery by Sam because Jennie is able to understand the dog's thoughts. The reader's attention is aroused quickly in the book, but the mystery is easily understood before the characters have a chance to solve it. The significance of the journal is not completely developed by Labatt. Its origins, its story and how it got in the wall could have been more of a mystery than the mysterious lights in the lake. If readers were acquainted with other titles in the "Sam, Dog Detective" series prior to reading this volume, the transitions between the narrative and the dog's thoughts (which are written in italic) may have proven easier to understand. This reader found the transitions choppy at times, a situation which made the switch between the narrative and the dog's thoughts difficult to follow. For children who enjoy animals with human abilities in their stories, The Secret of Sagawa Lake may be a suitable novel. It is an easy read but a weak mystery.
Recommended with reservations.
Gillian Martin Noonan is a teacher living in Old Perlican, NF.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.