Tuesday, August 21, 2012

To Fetch a Thief ~ Spencer Quinn review

To Fetch a Thief (Chet & Bernie Mystery #3)
September 28, 2010
320 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

Following their first two (chronicled) adventures in Dog On It (review) and Thereby Hangs a Tail (review) private investigator Bernie Little and his dog - and investigative partner - Chet are back in this third installment.

When one of their divorce cases leaves Bernie with tickets to a traveling circus currently in town, it seems like the perfect place to take his young son Charlie. He never dreams it will lead to a case.

An elephant - and her trainer - seemingly vanished into thin air isn't their usual type of case, but Chet's getting tired of the divorce work and likes anything that pays. Bernie, on the other hand, isn't sure there's much of a case for them to investigate. But if there's a paying client . . .

Chet and Bernie go from looking for a toy-sized show dog in Thereby Hangs a Tail to looking for an circus elephant in To Fetch a Thief and yet it all fits.They seem to stumble into - or get referred into - all of this crazy detective work that could seem crazy (who exactly ends up looking for a missing elephant?) but the writing, the legitimate mystery elements, the characters and the relationships keep it grounded.

Chet continues as the series narrator. This is a great story device, allowing readers to see current goings-on through a unique perspective, leave you select conversations, observations, etc that might give away the mystery (to the reader, at least) too early and pulling in odd bits that might have been forgotten from earlier in the tale. Though the book has a canine narrator, it's not cutesy nor is it overly anthropomorphized. Chet's thoughts are linear enough to make him a great narrator, but they veer off or associate things (most) people would not with each other, enough to make him feel like a dog. That and his thoughts on food, water, tennis balls, etc help, as well.

To Fetch a Thief involves a bit more of the interpersonal relationships of the characters than the previous books did. Not so much that it doesn't still work very well as a stand-alone book, but, being the third book in the series, it was time for certain things to happen, to develop between the different characters. It didn't take the focus away from the case, simply rewarded readers who knew the characters and had hoped for some more insight into their connections.

This series continues to be humorous - both due to Chet's narration and how Chet and Bernie's cases seem to develop - has mysteries that unfold well, dropping clues throughout the book and coming to great conclusions, and has a fantastic cast of characters.

If you're looking for a new mystery, mystery series to start, like books with canines in them or just want a fun book to end out the summer with, consider one of the Chet and Bernie Mysteries.

Rating: 8/10

 (review of #4 and earc of #5 coming super soon :))

Chet & Bernie Series (released so far):

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