From time to time, Auntie M likes to throw in something vastly unconnected to a crime novel. With things the way they are in today’s world, here’s some candy for the brain that will both delight and distract you.

Jane Mosse’s Barking Mad! is subtitled: Confessions of a Dog-Sitter, and is based on the adventures she and her husband have had taking up house-sitting in their retirement. A published poet, non-fiction author and researcher, the couple live on the lovely island of Guernsey in the Channel Islands.

With wonderful illustrations by North Herefordshire artist Iain Welch, Mosse brings readers the escapades of Christine and Rob, whose early retirement has left them at loose ends when the last of their dogs dies.

It’s Christine’s suggestion to combine travel with pet-sitting, one her brother calls “barking mad.” She soon finds a wealth of options on the internet on offer. Not all of these are in desirable places, but they try to choose carefully.

Having the dogs and cats and often other animals to care for is what they enjoy, as well meeting different owners, and living in homes that vary as much as the pets do. The chapters range from Treviso, Italy, to a home that’s a small castle, to a small cottage filled with ornaments near a damp and scraggly lock.

Mosse is quick to point out that her episodes are inspired by their adventures but that the owners animals and homes are mostly fictional. That doesn’t detract one whit from the joy of reading about them.

If you enjoy Iain Welch’s dog art, more information about his work (yes, he does commissions) can be found on his website: