Sharing Books and Authors, with an emphasis on Mysteries.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
A Fistful of Collars by Spencer Quinn
Anyone who loves dogs should try the Chet and Bernie mysteries by Spencer Quinn. It's hard to resist Chet's narration as he tells of his adventures with Bernie Little in the Little Detective Agency. And, Chet is at the top of his game as Bernie's partner in A Fistful of Collars.
Bernie has issues with the local government in the Valley so it comes as a surprise to him when he's recommended to the mayor's office for a job. The mayor has plans for the future of the film industry in the Valley. It means big money when a film company wants to shoot Wild Horseman there. And, it means big money for Bernie, $3000 a day just to keep Thad Perry, the star, out of trouble during the filming. But, Bernie doesn't like the looks of some of the people involved with Thad, and Chet isn't crazy about Brando, Thad's cat.
Bernie only has to keep Thad Perry out of trouble for twenty-one days of filming, but who's going to keep Bernie out of trouble? His reporter girlfriend, Suzie, has moved on to a better job, so Chet's the only one working with him as they follow one of Thad's assistants to a shady side of town. And, when Chet and Bernie find two bodies, they know something in Thad Perry's past has brought trouble to the Valley. Once again, it's time for the team to ride to the rescue.
Spencer Quinn's mysteries have a few appealing features that continue to draw me back. I appreciate Bernie's view of the Valley. He understands its history and the value of water, and Chet knows "the dry dusty scent of the desert." Bernie Little an interesting man, a little weak when it comes to women and money, but a man with a fascinating history. But, the main draw of these books is Chet. He's loyal to Bernie, the person he sees as the smartest man in any room. But, Chet is a dog. And, he often forgets what he's doing when he's caught up in the life of a dog or the nation as he refers to the brotherhood of dogs. Chet is an unreliable narrator because he'll go off on a tangent, forgetting what is happening in the case, or even in his present surroundings. It may be more important to chase a cat, gnaw on a treat, or mark his spot. But, don't worry. He may be lost in his dog world at times, but Chet will always be there for Bernie as the two detectives get their culprit.
Spencer Quinn's readers may return for his fun mysteries, the setting or the characters. But, I'm willing to bet most of us picked up A Fistful of Collars because we're big fans of Chet the dog. And, Bernie may have a fascinating past, but there is a secret or two to uncover about Chet's life in future books as well. We can't wait until Chet's past comes back to bite him.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
My reviews are only my opinion, and do not reflect the views of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
I will not review self-published books, and, at the present time, do not accept books in e-book format.
My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.