Illustrated by: Andrew Glass
Published by: Warne, 1983
Awards: Parents Choice Award, 1983.
Copyright © Marilyn Singer 1983

The Fido Frame-Up

Chapter One

The name’s Samantha.  Samantha Spayed.  But you can call me Sam.

I’ve been on the right side of the law for a long time.  I work hard, fight rough, and I never forget a smell.

Without me, Philip Barlowe would never have cracked a single case.  Lucky for him he knows detection is a dog’s work.

Phil and I got together one rainy day when i was cooling my heels under a car. His car.  I wasn’t doing much at the time, so when Phil asked me if I wanted to come on to his place, I said “Woof,” which means “Sure.”  That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.  Beautiful except for one thing.  All of those famous capers you’ve read about–those burglars called the Golden Retrievers, the capture of gangster Derek Dangerfield, the Case of the Maltese Maltese–all those criminals brought to justice.  Who do you think sniffed them out?  Philip Barlowe, you say?  Wrong!  Samantha Spayed, that’s who.  I catch the crooks; Barlowe gets the credit.  That’s why I’m going to tell you the story of our latest case myself.  It’s about time Barlowe shares some of his glory.  So, here is the true story of The Fido Frame-Up.  Told exclusively by yours truly.

It was  a month after we’d successfully shepherded the Golden Retrievers to jail and nothing much was in the works.  I could tell Barlowe was itching for a job and I was tired of sitting around and scratching my fleas.

“Sam, how about a vacation?” Barlowe would say every night.

Whaddya think this is, I would say to myself.

“Tomorrow,” Barlowe would say.  And tomorrow would come and go leaving us in apartment 2B waiting for our chance to serve the cause of justice–and make a little money.

Then, one night while Phil was rereading his best book on poisons and I was memorizing a few odors to add to my repertory–some kind of perfume on the sleeve of Barlowe’s jacket, probably from his latest dame, and a crummy new sauce Barlowe had poured over my dog food to make me think I was getting steak like I do when we’ve got dough–the phone rang.  The phone hadn’t rung after eleven p.m. in a long time.  In fact, the phone hadn’t rung much lately at all.  My ears perked up and my hair got that bristly feeling it does when something’s about to happen.  It rang again.  And again.  Barlowe was sure taking his time.  It’s all part of his act.

“Hello,” he finally answered in his most casual voice.  “Yeah.  Yeah.  Yeah.”

I began to pace the floor, letting out a whine or two–just to let Barlowe know I was awake.

“You say only your cameo was stolen, Lady Binghampton-Nuggets.”

A stolen cameo !  That meant a case.  And Lady Binghampton-Nuggets!  I’d heard of her.  She was loaded.

“I’m pretty busy…”  Barlowe was still keeping up his hard-to-get image.

I sneezed.  Loudly.

“How about tomorrow?”

I began to howl.

Barlowe gave me a dirty look, but kept his cool.  “Right now?”  He paused.  “Well, I’ll see.”  He hung up.  “Okay, Sam, get your leash.  We’ve got a little job to do.”

I bolted into the bedroom, grabbed my leash, and bounced out, wagging my tail in a highly unprofessional fashion.  “Mmmoof,” I barked, meaning “What’s up?”

“Looks like the Black Feather Gang.”  Barlowe lowered his voice.

The Black Feather Gang!  The dirtiest, most ruthless crooks around.  And the cleverest.  Lots of gangs have trademarks, which they leave in place of whatever they steal.  Take the Lipstick Crew–they always scrawled a “thank you” in lipstick.  And the Commuters–they always deposited a subway token.  Well, the Black Feather Gang’s trademark is a black feather.  Now, that doesn’t make them so clever.  And they always take jewelry.  That’s not so special either.  But it’s how they manage to get the jewelry that is.  The Black Feather Gang steals jewelry from places nobody can get into.  The Gang scattered when their leader, Derek Dangerfield, was caught and everyone thought they’d left the country.  But it looked as if they were back in town.  And that meant trouble.  Big trouble.

“Bbboof,” I replied.

“Yeah,” agreed Phil.  “And that means trouble.  Big trouble.”

He’s always stealing my lines.