Monday, August 6, 2012

Thereby Hangs a Tail ~ Spencer Quinn review

Thereby Hangs a Tail (Chet & Bernie Mystery #2)
January 5, 2010
320 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Chet and Bernie run the Little Detective Agency - because Bernie's last name is Little, as Chet will let you know - Bernie's a P.I. and Chet is his dog, a K-9 school almost graduate.

Back in their second mystery of this series, Chet and Bernie are pulled into a world they're both almost wholly unaware of: that of the competitive dog shows. When Princess, one of the top competitors is threatened, or, at least, her owner feels that way, she comes to Bernie for protection.

It's not their usual type of job, but as Chet wants to point out, money is money. And they're in sore need of it. No one - aside from Princess' owners and trainer are taking the case that seriously, police included, until Princess and her owner are kidnapped.

That's when Chet and Bernie's real detective skills come into play.Then when the two are separated, it's up to Chet to find clues, stay safe, and get back to Bernie all on his own.

Will the two be able to solve this mystery? One that started out seeming so silly but is gradually seeming more and more dangerous - to them and those around them.

I really loved Dog on It (the first in this series) and was excited to see that this continued with the elements that made that novel so unique and enjoyable. Of course, I do love dogs and would probably love just about any (well written) book where a dog is one of the true characters. The Chet and Bernie Mysteries take things a step (or two  or three) further, though by making Chet the series' narrator.

It seems to be a great literary device. Not only is Quinn able to leave out parts of dialogue and/or observation that a human narrator would absolutely be faulted for, he's also able, through Chet, to bring in almost completely random parts of back story. Sometime they stay completely random but other times they seem to come into the story at a later time and are actually relevant.

All this while making Chet more endearing and definitely more than 'just a dog' - if it's ever possible to be that.

Some of the characters from the previous novel were carried over. In a way that those who read Dog on It would know who they were and have a bit more to start with than those who didn't, but they weren't so integral to the story that you have to have read the first mystery. Chet and Bernie are the real stars here and this series seems fairly standalone.

There's one not major, but not tiny part of the plot that I'm hoping wasn't resolved in Thereby Hangs a Tail. If it was, it wrapped up much too quickly for how long it was a part of the story. There's also one part that I'm almost hoping is wrapped up but, at the same time, am pretty sure is not . . . it's something sure to keep you reading to the third To Catch a Thief, though!

Rating: 8/10

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