This is the entertaining third installment of the Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye series of elementary mystery graphic novels featuring Detective Pants the guinea big and sidekick Hamisher the hamster. The story takes place inside Mr. Venezi’s pet shop where Mr. Venezi is advertising for additional help. Worried what additional help could cause in the shop, Pants and Hamisher create labels for all the different cages in the shop. Seeing the pet shop in order, Mr. Venezi takes down help wanted sign.
Confused by the animals hiding in the shop, Mr. Venezi calls around for where to get more animals. Shoes end up delivered to the shop as well as a crate with what Hamisher is terrified to believe are bearded snakes. These new creatures are actually a pair of ferrets, who are seemingly too busy to talk to Pants.
Trouble begins when the cage labels get changed overnight so the animal names are now words that do not make sense (The snake is labeled milkshake and later handshake). Hyped up on too much caffeine in an effort to change his sleeping habits, Hamisher at first believes the ferrets are behind everything. Pants isn’t so sure and questions everyone.
I loved the ingenious ways pet equipment is used throughout this story. A leash and hamster wheel become a harness that Pants can use to investigate difficult places. A hamster ball is used as a jail when Hamisher becomes convinced he is the one responsible for the label changing. Mr. Venezi’s absent-minded and unexpected ways to solve problems also amuse. The tryouts for a new assistant for Detective Pants made me laugh out loud.
Hamisher’s fascination with mysteries adds a comedic layer to the story because he’s convinced Pants has to have some sort of catchphrase. After discarding a number of ideas, Hamisher settles on “A Ferret’s a Foot.” In Hamisher’s chatter about books comes the quote “Every good book has dragons” and he’s planning on styling himself as a dragon sidekick in a book about Detective Pants.
At the back of the book is a section called Hamisher explains which includes factual information about ferrets as well as some exaggeration on Hamisher’s part. He also has a short dictionary of detective words.