Friday, January 15, 2010
Thereby Hangs a Tail by Spencer Quinn
Dog On It launched a unique detecting team, The Little Detective Agency, owned by Bernie Little, whose partner was his dog, Chet. Chet is the spokesman for the agency, the narrator of the story. He has a new story to tell in Spencer Quinn's Thereby Hangs a Tail.
Chet knows Bernie's finances, "our finances," are a mess, with alimony, child support, and bad investments, so he's excited when Lieutenant Stone of the Metro Police recommends them for a case, acting as bodyguards for a show dog who is going to compete in the Valley's Great Western Dog Show. It's too bad Chet can't restrain himself when the other dog, Princess, is offered a snack. Before they have a chance to accept the case, they're fired.
It's also too bad Bernie and Chet weren't on the case because it isn't too long before Suzie Sanchez, a reporter for the Valley Tribune, lets them know Princess and her owner, the Countess Adelina di Borghese, were kidnapped. Bernie feels responsible, so he asks the count if he can take the case. It may have started out as a kidnapping case, but it becomes more serious to both Chet and Bernie when Suzie disappears. And, the whole case becomes complicated when Bernie and Chet are ambushed in a ghost town saloon.
Chet is a unique, wonderful narrator for the cases of The Little Detective Agency. He's Bernie's Watson, with a poor memory. Or, I should say, with a memory that is easily sidetracked. Chet remembers cases, and clues, but he's a dog, sidetracked by scents, food, other dogs, anything of interest to a dog. And, we continue to learn about Bernie's life and past, through the voice of Chet. It's fascinating, and fun, to watch the unraveling of a case, through Chet's eyes.
If you're expecting a cutesy animal mystery, you're in for a surprise. If you're returning for Spencer Quinn's second book because you enjoyed the first, you're in for a treat. Chet actually does an excellent job as narrator, revealing a story of kidnapping, greed, and murder. He also does an excellent job interpreting Bernie's frustration with the environment and growth in Arizona. Spencer Quinn, and Chet, have a complex mystery story to tell, and Thereby Hangs a Tail.
Spencer Quinn's website is www.ChetTheDog.com
Thereby Hangs a Tail by Spencer Quinn. Atria Books, ©2010. ISBN 9781416585855 (hardcover), 320p.
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