Dog On It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery by Spencer Quinn is narrated by Chet the dog, sometimes known as Chet the Jet. Chet and Bernie are partners in the Little Detective Agency. Both have less than stellar law enforcement careers. Chet failed completion of the K-9 course—something to do with a cat and leaping, but the details are not revealed. As the tail (tale) begins, Bernie and Chet are experiencing a cash flow problem, when the mother of a missing teenage girl requests their services. Chet and Bernie are not fond of working domestic cases, but they agree to a least consider this one –motivated by the $500 advance payment. While they are inspecting the girl’s home, looking for clues and scents, the girl returns, not missing at all. Chet and Bernie are suspicious of her alibi and return to the case when she goes missing again.
The plot is a bit over the top and some of the characters seem out of central casting, but what makes this story unique and fun is Chet’s observation and description of human behavior. For instance, Chet describes his master as he’s opening the front door to his ex-wife, “Bernie rose, and threw on his robe, the one with lots of holes and a missing belt. He hurried out of the room, hair all over the place, breath pretty strong. I followed.” Or Chet’s observations after spending the night at a biker’s camp/party site, “in the morning, I was the first one up feeling not too good. The bikers were sleeping all over the place, some of them wearing not much. Like other humans, almost every one of them looked better with clothes on.” Chet’s sheer joy of the simple things in life, like riding shoot gun in a rusty Porsche convertible, is contagious.
Chet and Bernie have many harrowing encounters as they work to solve this case, but all dog lovers, rest assured, no tissues are required! The sequel, Thereby Hangs a Tail: A Chet and Bernie Mystery was recently published.