Book Review: Thereby Hangs a Tail by Spencer Quinn

Thereby Hangs a Tail
Spencer Quinn
Narrated by Jim Frangione
Recorded Books, January 2010
Downloaded Unabridged Audio Book

Bernie and Chet run the Little Detective Agency, Bernie being a human P.I. always a bit, or a lot, behind with the bills, and Chet being a four-legged dude who had to drop out of K-9 school.  Together, they make a savvy team.  They’ve been hired to look into threats being made against Princess, a floofy show dog, and her owner, and then the pair are abducted.  Chet and Bernie get separated but not to worry—Chet is on the case.

When I put together my list of top 5 books for 2009, Dog On It by Spencer Quinn was on it and deservedly so.  Having animals solve mysteries is not uncommon but having the animal tell the story is.  In this case, Chet tells the story in first person but he doesn’t talk to his human partner or even to other animals.  Chet’s narration of the story is uproarious at times, especially when he behaves as all dogs do, having a barkoff with Iggy, who lives next door, getting completely distracted by the least little thing (SQUIRREL!), lusting after a good burger.  He’s also not half bad at solving crimes with a little help from Bernie, although he does have to contend with a very short memory.

The book was so very good—laugh out loud funny but also a tidy mystery—that I couldn’t wait for the second book while I was a bit worried it couldn’t possibly be as entertaining.  In a way, I was right because it isn’t as good, it’s better.  No sophomore slump with this one and there’s the added bonus of a really effective reader, Jim Frangione.  I’ll be anxiously awaiting the third Chet and Bernie Mystery and, in the meantime, I’ll look for more audio books read by Mr. Frangione.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, March 2010.