Harvey Takes the Lead
Harvey Takes the Lead
Harvey sits at the door waiting for Austin to return. He doesn’t mean to disobey, but when the nurse’s aide arrives, she props the door open to wheel in her cart. For a curious dog like Harvey, the open door is an invitation to find out where Austin has gone.
The boy’s scent is fresh and easily discovered. But the farther Harvey trots from Mr. Kowalski’s suite, the more tangled the scents become. He keeps his nose on the ground, careful not to miss any. It is only as he zigs and zags down the hall that he catches a whiff of a smell that jogs his memory. The mysterious trail from the other day! With renewed determination, Harvey sets off to find the source.
He raises his head once and spies Austin talking with Artie, but they are deep in conversation and don’t notice him. Like any good investigation with a suspect in his sights, he stays focused. Once again, the smell leads him to the dining room. The doors are open and Harvey seizes his chance to race inside.
This third offering in the “Harvey'' series, the previous novels being Harvey Comes Home and Harvey Holds His Own, finds dog owner Maggie struggling with her role as an understudy in the middle school play, classmate Austin concerned about financing a special school trip and worried about elderly Mr. Kowalski, and West Highland Terrier Harvey devoted to tracking down an odd smell that he has discovered at the Brayside Retirement Home. Additionally, everyone is upset by the new assistant director of Brayside, a young woman full of rules and regulations intended to keep everyone at the retirement home safe.
Nelson builds on the solid characters developed in her previous books to move the story along. Maggie is becoming more self-confident about her own abilities as well as more aware of the problems others may face. Austin is embarrassed by his family’s lack of funds to enable him to attend the school trip, but he continues to channel his energies in a positive direction, particularly through his volunteering at the retirement home. Mr. Kowalski is sad that his wife of sixty years is very ill in the hospital, but Austin helps him to remember the pleasant memories and music of their earlier years. And Harvey continues to do what he does best: comforting the retirement home residents and searching for the source of the scent that he knows means mice. For the most part, the story strands move on separate tracks (chapters are narrated by Maggie, Austin, and Harvey) until the end when they are woven together in a satisfying conclusion. A welcome treat for Harvey fans and dog lovers everywhere.
Kay Weisman is a former youth services librarian at West Vancouver Memorial Library and the author of If You Want to Visit a Sea Garden.