Dog On It by Spencer Quinn, book one in the Chet and Bernie series

dog on it spencer quinnIf you have ever owned a dog and wondered what must be going through their minds, then Spencer Quinn’s Chet and Bernie mystery series, the first novel being Dog on It, is for you. I have a dog named Lucy, and I have spent a lot of time what wondering what must be going through her mind when she sees the stuff I do. She has to wonder why on earth this lady is dancing around her kitchen singing quite loudly to “Proud Mary” or why I go away for what probably seems like forever to her when I go to work. So Spencer Quinn’s series is a pleasure for any dog lover to read. It captures what I think it must be like to be a dog, their thought process, why they act a certain way, and what they think of their humans.

The series follows lead human, Bernie and lead dog, Chet on their many crime fighting adventures. The first tale, or maybe tail, as you will, sees our heroes working a missing person’s case, which is what they do best. What makes this series so wonderful is that the entire thing is told from Chet’s perspective. When your only narrator is a canine, you just have to accept that sometimes the narrator is going to take a nap in the middle of the conversation because he found a nice sunny spot, or sometimes his train of thought is interrupted when he spots a cat, for, as you should know, cats cannot be trusted. Despite the fact that our narrator gets sidetracked at times, we still get the full story. I was concerned since there are some places a dog cannot go and if that would affect what we know of the story. Quinn makes sure the reader gets all the information needed without making the story seem contrived.

Part of what makes the story so magical is the duo that is Bernie and Chet. Their relationship of partners as opposed to owner and pet is what really makes the story. Bernie does not see Chet as just his dog, he is his trusted partner. Chet goes everywhere with him, no one messes with Chet or they will answer to Bernie, and it is the same way for Chet. There is no one better or smarter than Bernie, and if anyone messes with him they will have to answer to Chet. And it is funny to see how much alike they are. It is terribly true that pets seem to take on their owner’s personality. I know my Lucy is about as lazy as I am, and Chet is just as dogged, pun intended, about catching the bad guys as Bernie is.

So if you are an animal lover or just want to enjoy a nice twist on a detective story then the Chet and Bernie mystery series is for you.

Kaity Moore is a library assistant at the May Memorial Library.  She can be reached at (336) 229-3588 or kmoore@alamancelibraries.org.