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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Book Review: A Fistful of Collars by Spencer Quinn

This is a fun mystery tail tale told by Chet, the side kick dog!
A Fistful of Collars (Chet and Bernie Mysteries)
by Spencer Quinn

  • File Size: 997 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (September 11, 2012)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0061OQXRI
Genre: Cozy Mystery
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: September 11, 2012 | Series: Chet and Bernie Mysteries
Everyone’s favorite detective team returns in a new adventure as canine narrator Chet and his human partner P.I. Bernie Little find that Hollywood has gone to the dogs.

Hoping to bring some Tinseltown money to the Valley, the mayor lures a movie studio to town to shoot their next production, a big-budget Western in the classic tradition. The star is none other than ruggedly handsome—and notoriously badly behaved—Thad Perry. When the mayor decides that someone needs to keep an eye on Thad so that he doesn’t get into too much trouble, Bernie and Chet are handpicked for the job. The money is good but something smells fishy, and what should have been a simple matter of babysitting soon gets more complicated—especially when they discover that Thad has a mysterious connection to the Valley that nobody wants to talk about. What kind of secret could Thad have left behind when he went to Hollywood to seek fame and fortune? The only people who might know the answer have a bad habit of turning up dead before they can talk.

As Bernie’s relationship with his longtime girlfriend Suzie goes long-distance, and Chet’s late-night assignations appear to have resulted in an unexpected dividend, it’s all our two sleuths can do to keep Thad and his motley entourage of yes-men, handlers, and hangers-on in their sights. Worst of all, Thad is a self-proclaimed cat person, and his feline friend Brando has taken an instant dislike to Chet.

Like the winning books before it, this fifth book in the series combines a top-notch mystery with genuine humor and a perceptive take on the relationship between human and dog that will stay with you long after the case is solved.

This story is narrated by Chet, the canine, loyal sidekick of Bernie, a former cop turned Private Investigator. The mystery is shared from the perspective of Chet who apparently failed in the last stages as a trained work dog and in the last stages as a police dog. It was never quite clear to me what kind of dog Chet is other than large, one hundred pounds, and with mismatched ears.

Chet describes his surroundings from the dog’s view of senses: sounds, smells, and textures. His thinking is simple and consistent for a dog, complete with disjointed thoughts that trail off as he loses attention or his attention is caught by something else. It makes for fun narration and dialogue.

Bernie is hired to protect a movie star brought into town by the mayor in hopes of bringing in money and work to the valley.  Bernie is suspicious of the hire from the beginning and goes to the source to inquire.  He continues to suspect something is off and sure enough his investigations lead him to uncover a secret payoff and then discover a dead body.

Bernie’s girlfriend, Suzie, is a reporter who gets an offer of a job with the Washington post. They are struggling with their separation while Bernie continues his investigation.  He gets help from a reporter friend of Suzie’s, and that friend soon ends up dead too. Now Bernie is determined to put all the pieces together before there are any more murders.

There are a few twists to unravel, including a cold case with a connection. I did enjoy the mystery and the story from the dog’s narration. However I felt there were several “loose ends”, including resolving some conflicts between Bernie and Suzie.  I didn’t understand why Bernie wouldn’t be more open with his cop friend, Rick, who could have helped with the investigation. Also I didn’t fully understand why Bernie felt he shouldn’t accept payment for work he did, although there was a point I wondered how he was doing his security work when he was off on his investigations. Maybe I’m not in favor of a one man, one dog, show. Still, it is a fun read and I would be likely to try more in the series.
Suzie tries to tell Bernie of her new job offer:
"I have some news.”
“You’re a newswoman.” Location 129
Chet's view of an official meeting:
Then came handshaking, hello hellos, and nobody took a single sniff of nobody, all very human, and everyone sat down.  Location 224.
Chet comments on Bernie's reaction:
Bernie nodded. He was a great nodder, if that hasn’t come up yet, had all kinds of different nods. I’d seen this nod before–not a friendly kind–mostly when we were dealing with perps. Location 2012.
I appreciate recieving this book from Simon and Schuster through NetGalley.
This is set in Hollywood, California for my Where Are You Reading Challenge. I will also add this to the New Author, ARC and Mystery Challenge lists.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a fun cozy. I'd love to listen to this one on audio! I think I'll put it on my wish list. Thanks for sharing :)


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