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Thursday, November 6, 2014


4 stars out of 5

Woof, woof, woof, woof - make that 4 stars for the 7th installment in the life of Chet, the lovable pooch whose equally lovable owner, Bernie, operates the Little Detective Agency (Little is his last name). Chet - who narrates each of the books in the series, all of which I've read - flunked out of K-9 school on the last day (he claims a cat was at fault).

In addition to being rooted in a good story, the books are a hoot because of Chet's take on things. Throughout, there are doggie "asides" to make you smile (well, they never fail to put a grin on my face, at least). Here's a sample, straight from the pooch's mouth:

"I've always been interested in toilets, by the way., Sometimes you can find the very freshest water in them - and sometimes not."

This one mostly takes place in Washington, D.C., where Bernie's love interest, Suzie, has moved to take a job at the Washington Post as a reporter. Lonesome and wanting to resolve some of the issues that were in play when she left, Bernie heads across the country for an unexpected visit. His greeting isn't quite as warm as he'd hoped for; it seems Suzie is ferreting out details for a big story, but she can't reveal any details. Early on, Bernie has a run-in with some beefed up jerks, one of Suzie's friends turns up dead and Bernie is arrested for the murder.

In the end, though, the best I could muster for this one is 4 stars despite the chuckles it elicited. For one thing, the plot was more difficult to follow than that of other books. For another, while I love Chet's narratives, they're a little too repetitive and a little too lengthy here than in the others. Still, if you're looking for a mystery on the lighter side, this - and any of the other six - should fill the bill nicely.

Paw and Order by Spencer Quinn (Altria Books, August 2014); 320 pp.

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