My beloved husband of twenty-five years, Bob Allen Wilkinson, passed away last Friday, Jan. 2. I spent most of last month in and out of hospitals while he was battling cancer, and reading was my only distraction.
A friend had recommended the Chet and Bernie mysteries as fun reading, and I loved the idea of a series written from the point of view of the sleuth’s trusty canine companion. I devoured the first three books in the season plus two of the e-book novellas. (All purchased and read on the Kindle app, in case the FCC is paying attention.)
Dog On It is the first Chet and Bernie book. Bernie Little is a former soldier and policeman now working as a private investigator. Bernie is a great detective and a good guy, but a lousy businessman and a worse investor, so he is always in financial difficulties and has to take on divorce work, which he hates. Chet, a large dog of indeterminate breed, is his trusty companion and partner in solving crimes. Chet is a trained K-9 dog who almost graduated from the program, and would have, if it hadn’t been for that cat. (Cat smell is the worst smell of all!)
In the first book, Chet and Bernie are called in to locate a missing teenage girl. The action takes them from “the Valley” a fictional urban area in an unnamed Southwestern state–my money is on Arizona–to Las Vegas and into New Mexico. Once he’s on a case, Bernie doesn’t give up, even when the client says he is no longer needed. (And we wonder why he has money problems.) Very enjoyable.
In Thereby Hangs a Tail, Bernie and Chet are called in when a wealthy woman and her prize show dog, Princess, go missing.
Quinn does a fabulous job of delving into the canine mind: the short attention span, the pleasure in little things like a good scratch or a cold drink of water, and best of all. riding shotgun in the Porsche with the top down. His confusion about some of Bernie’s literary and historical references (who is this Kit Carson, a perp?) and his general confusion about human behavior are often quite funny. What is the human nose for, when it doesn’t work very well?
In their third outing, Chet and Bernie go on the hunt for Peanut, a missing circus elephant,and her trainer. Chet finds the circus fascinating–so many strange, wild, rich smells. Chet and Peanut ultimately make a good team in another fun read.
If I have one criticism, it’s that the books start to get a little formulaic. Chet always ends up separated from Bernie where he discovers important information about the case, but of course, he can’t just tell Bernie what’s going on. Fortunately, when he barks and takes off on a tangent, Bernie knows to follow where the dog’s nose leads. Recommended for mystery fans and dog lovers.
For more information, check out Chet: A Dog’s Life, the Official Blog of Chet the Dog.
Click on the graphic below to read more great reviews in the Barrie Summy Book Review Club.
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I am sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you during these difficult times.
May Bob’s soul rest in peace in Heavens’ gardens!
Thank you, Carmen.
So sorry to hear of your husband’s death. Mine has prostate cancer so I am going through some of this now.
The book sounds like a perfect distraction. I may download one myself.
Oh, Paty, so sorry to hear about your husband. Hope he has a better outcome. These mysteries are a good distraction.
I love the concept of a flunky K9! It must be a challenge in a crime series not to be formulaic.
I think you have a point, Sarah. And cozy mysteries do tend to be formulaic.
I’m so sorry about your loss, Linda, and wish you healing and peace as the new year progresses.
I’ve had the third of these books on my bedside table for months. Now I’m thinking I’d better get reading. Thanks for the nudge.
Thanks, Ellen. Peace and healing sound good. Hope you enjoy the third book. I loved Peanut.
What a very interesting premise! I just forwarded your link to someone I know who loves mysteries and canines. Linda, thank you for reviewing, especially with all you’re going through. I’m so sorry for your loss. xo
Thanks, Barrie. Chet helped me get through some of the tough times.
My thoughts have been with you for a while. Happy that you were able to read through this time. I think I may try and get these for my Aunt. She loves a good mystery and is totally a dog person. Thank you for the recommendation.
Thank you, Maria. I was happy for the distraction of reading. Your aunt should enjoy the books, as long as she doesn’t mind the occasional bad word. 😉
Reading can be a distraction from life. I’m so very sorry to hear about your loss.
Lots of good thoughts,
My deepest condolences to you. I hope you are coping. As a hospice volunteer, I’ve helped many families through this journey.
I, too, am dealing with a sick husband. He has prostate cancer, which surgery failed to totally remove. It is a waiting game, which I loathe.
Good for you for reading. This is what I do. It takes me away for a time and lets me take off that mourning cloak, and live in another world. It is sanctuary. Then, when it is time, on goes that cloak, I grieve, or pregrieve right now, and carry on.
Take good care. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself time.
Jenn, so sorry to hear about your husband. Reading is a sanctuary for those who grieve, and I do understand what you mean about the pre-grieving. Try to take care of yourself, though I know it’s hard when someone you love is ill.
I’m so very sorry for your loss! I’m glad the books helped you cope during this very difficult time. These sound quite fun and very clever.
Thanks for reviewing! And best wishes for the new year!
The books are loads of fun.
Linda, I am so sorry for your loss. What a difficult time for you, but you’ve shown one of the joys of reading–being able to escape from our troubles for a time. As both a mystery and dog lover, I think these books sound like an interesting diviersion. Thanks for the recommendations.
Reading is a wonderful escape. Hope you enjoy the books.