Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Fistful of Collars by Spencer Quinn

A Fistful of Collars
by Spencer Quinn

5 stars - great book, will read it again

The Chet and Bernie mysteries have zoomed to the top of my list as my all time favorite dog mystery series. 

The books are written in the voice of Chet, the dog. Bernie is Chet's owner and partner in crime. Chet and Bernie are private detectives operating under the name of "Little Detective Agency." Chet flunked out of detective dog school. Bernie is a former police officer. Perfect partners in crime.

I've read other books that attempt to write in, let's call it, first dog singular. Doesn't work well most of the time, but Mr. Quinn has got it down. Chet isn't exceptionally smart, heck, he's a dog. He misses a lot of things, gets distracted by scents and sights, and is driven by blind loyalty towards those he loves.

Since I'm not always the swiftest to catch clues or figure out the endings to books, having things unfold at a dog's pace is just the ticket.

Here's a sample of his words:

"Nixon Panero came over for breakfast. Had that ever happened before? Not that I could think of, but I sure hoped he'd do it again. For one thing, he brought the food: coffee and egg sandwiches for him and Bernie, a nice fat sausage for me. Did we mind that his fingers were grease-stained? Not us. Some days you just hit the ground running: I knew this was going to be one of them."

The stories themselves are interesting and kept me guessing right up until the end. Lots of dangerous situations for both Chet and Bernie, sometimes a bit scary, but overall fun. Bernie is a likable chap. He's divorced with a young son and fumbles his way around trying to put together new relationships. 

If you haven't read any of the Chet and Bernie mysteries, you are in for a treat as there are five of them (and more on the way). 

Chet and Bernie Bibliography:
1. Dog On It (2009)
2. Thereby Hangs a Tail (2010)
3. To Fetch a Thief (2010)
4, The Dog Who Knew Too Much (2011)
5. A Fistful of Collars (2012)

Final note.
Chet is never described in too much detail. Thank you, Mr. Quinn. Even though he is technically smaller than Chet, I always picture the dog belonging to one of my friends as the star of the books.

Here's my Chet (a.k.a. Norwood).


  1. Thanks for the review. I think I will check out this series. Norwood is a perfect detective dog.


  2. I often think of Norwood when I read them, too. I didn't know he had a new one out, but I've really enjoyed the earlier ones!

  3. I totally agree, a great author! Have you read any of David Rosenfelt's mysteries? The main character has a golden retriever and runs a rescue. Interesting fact: the author has 27 dogs. (Geez, people think that my pack of rescues is big!) I'm enjoying your reviews, it's always good to see what others are reading.

  4. I'll have to look for this author when I'm next at the library. Norwood makes a fine looking Chet; I'll remember him when I read some of these.

  5. I hate to admit it, but I actually put "Dog On It" on hold after Chet's near brush with death in the first book - I couldn't handle the whole vet scene. I was listening to the book on my commute and couldn't get past the scene (if I was reading, I would have skimmed that section and all would have been fine). So I think it's time for a trip to the library, as I LOVE Chet's personality, and Bernie is a good-hearted bumbler.

    -Dr. Liz, who loves the title 'A Fistful of Collars' - HAH! It would be too much to ask for the next book to be 'For a Few Collars More' huh? ;-)

  6. Now this sounds like a winner! Had not heard of this author, but will certainly check him out.


  7. Hmm, wonder if these are available as ebooks (Being as they are quite unlikely to be available in hard copy here). Sounds like the kind of light hearted type of story I would like. Plus, there's a dog in it, and it you imagine he's like Nordude, that's gotta be fun!!