Friday, January 14, 2011

TO FETCH A THIEF by Spencer Quinn

If you've already discovered Spencer Quinn's Chet and Bernie Mysteries (Dog On It, Thereby Hangs a Tail), all I need to do here is point out - in case you missed it - that the third book, To Fetch a Thief, was published last September and is now available in hardcover, Kindle edition, audio CD, and Audible audio download, and is probably also at your public library. You'll have to wait until July for the paperback, though.

If you haven't yet met Chet and Bernie, allow me to introduce you. Bernie Little is founder and part-owner (with his ex-wife) of the Little Detective Agency, and Chet is his partner. This confuses some of his potential clients, since Chet is a very large dog of indeterminate breed. Bernie always assures the dubious that Chet was top of his class at the police dog training school, though this is not, strictly speaking, accurate. Chet explains:
I'd done pretty well in K-9 school, up until the very last day. The only thing left had been the leaping test. And leaping is just about my very best thing. Then came some confusion. Was a cat involved? And blood? I ended up flunking out, but that was how Bernie and I got together, so it worked out great.
Yes, gentle reader, Chet narrates the whole series. Don't think, though, that it in any way resembles Christmas letters you may have received from addled friends' family pets. As Stephen King blurbs on the back cover: "Spencer Quinn speaks two languages - suspense and dog - fluently."

Here are 10 reasons you might want to get acquainted with Chet and Bernie:
  1. You've overdosed on bleak literary novels and want to read something funny for a change.
  2. You're a fan of Peter Abrahams, whom Stephen King calls his "favorite American suspense novelist." (Spencer Quinn is Peter Abrahams' pseudonym.)
  3. You live with a dog and would like to know how he or she thinks.
  4. You need an antidote for seasonal affective disorder. Chet and Bernie live in an unnamed Southwestern state whose temperatures range from warm to hot.
  5. You can't resist dogs who are bloggers (see Chet's blog here).
  6. You'd like to season your regular hardboiled detective story diet with a mystery that's softboiled or possibly even scrambled.
  7. Nevertheless, you demand intelligent plots and clever dialogue.
  8. You like detectives who are not only smart but also nice. Even if clueless about their finances.
  9. You figure that any books Books and Culture editor John Wilson likes must be worth reading (hey, he even included two Chet and Bernie titles in his list of 2010 favorites!).
  10. You want to get a head start so you're ready to read book 4 in the series, The Dog Who Knew Too Much, when it's published in September. 
Any of these reasons work for me. And I think To Fetch a Thief is Spencer Quinn's best yet - probably because I really like elephants.


  1. I adore the Chet and Bernie series for its humor and warm heart. Any other book recommendations? I'd love to find another equally satisfying read. Thanks!

  2. I'm sure you've already read everything by Alexander McCall Smith - but if not, that will keep you busy for a few months! For another delightful book narrated by a dog, try "A Dog's Life" by Peter Mayle:

  3. Thank you so much! I will definitely check out "A Dog's Life." Unfortunately, as much as I want to enjoy Alexander McCall Smith, I find his books don't keep my interest. Thank you again for responding!