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Murder in the Middle Pasture

by John R. Erickson

Other authors: Gerald L. Holmes (Illustrator)

Series: Hank the Cowdog (4)

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376253,527 (3.74)3
When a calf is murdered, Hank, a wily cowdog and head of ranch security, pursues a gang of wild dogs and a clan of coyotes to find the killer.
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» See also 3 mentions

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There are over 70 books in this series; I'm going to have to pick up my pace on reading the books if I want to finish them before I am 100! I love the humor in the series and end up laughing out loud. Hank is so full of himself that I can't hold my giggles inside.

In Amarillo, we were having some weather, so this line that "only barbed wire stood between the High Plains and the North Pole" truly resonated. The weather folks on TV often tell us that someone took down the fence when the winds howl and the snow blows.

There are some returning characters in this book, but I think it can be read without having all the background, although with any series it does add some depth if the books are read in order. I also think that it is appropriate to be read to young children as a chapter book, so if questions come up, they can be answered. There are some parts that could feel a bit scary to young children. The good part is the book is entertaining enough to not bore a parent reading it.

Recommended for anyone who enjoys humor, wants to learn more about ranch life, or likes dogs. ( )
  Jean_Sexton | Jan 17, 2021 |
Hank the Cowdog isn't nearly as smart as he thinks he is. I enjoy the way his assistant, Drover, can manipulate him. Pete the Barn Cat gets to snark at Hank, too, but I admire the way Hank refused to give him to a pack of four wild dogs. Butch is the leader of those dogs and one of his later boasts to Hank made me think he'd be bullet fodder if this weren't a humorous children's book. Butch, Mugs, and the two unnamed members of the pack are going to show up in some of the later books.

It's almost Christmas time and the Lopers are taking their infant son on a trip even though the middle pasture is full of heifers about ready to calve. Sally May, Mrs. Loper, hasn't forgiven Hank for some of the stunts he pulled in earlier books. The one about the steaks happened in book three, It's A Dog's Life. Sally tells Slim to let Drover sleep inside the house. She has no such tender feeling for that smelly old cowdog. This leads to Hank singing 'The Cold Weather Cowdog Blues'.

I'm not even close to being as good at keeping house as my late mother was, but Slim's actions, especially in the kitchen, made me cringe. It was sort of funny anyway, since I wasn't going to have to clean the place up.

We meet the buzzard father and son again. This time Hank and Junior's duet is 'Beulah, Good Night,' a parody of that Huddie 'Leadbelly' Ledbetter 1933 classic, 'Goodnight, Irene'. (You may hear a recording of Leadbelly singing it at YouTube. You may also hear the more familiar, 1950 best-selling version sung by the Weavers there.) That time Hank was in their cave before was in It's A Dog's Life. Hank's interrogation of Junior made me smile, especially when the cowdog resorted to an old trick Bugs Bunny uses, but the comparison Hank came up with for Wallace was even better.

Hank meets up again with the Coyote Nation. See book one, The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog, for when Hank lived with the coyotes. His past dealings with them mean he's soon to be coyote/buzzard food if he can't escape. Look for Hank to try to talk his way out of trouble.

Some of the old tunes played in the background are 'The Stars and Stripes Forever' (shades of the old black & white Popeye cartoons!), 'The William Tell Overture' (also known as 'The Lone Ranger theme'), 'Yankee Doodle,' and 'Red River Valley'.

Slim's homemade Christmas tree decorations were interesting.

Had to chuckle at the kindest words Sally May ever said to Hank.

Y'know, for a dog who claims to be in love with a beautiful collie, Hank sure is attracted to Missy Coyote.
I haven't checked out any of the print versions of Hank the Cowdog books. I'm having too much fun listening to the audio versions. (I later had to read some of the printed books because the audio versions weren't available. Still prefer to listen to this series.)

As apparent after listening again to books three and four, Hank has not yet come up with his trademark final words for each adventure. ( )
  JalenV | Jan 27, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John R. Ericksonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Holmes, Gerald L.Illustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

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When a calf is murdered, Hank, a wily cowdog and head of ranch security, pursues a gang of wild dogs and a clan of coyotes to find the killer.

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