Book Review: Thereby Hangs a Tail by Spencer Quinn

Thereby Hangs a Tail
Spencer Quinn
Atria Books, September 2010
ISBN 9781416585862
Trade Paperback

It’s a dog’s life in the desert with plenty of treats to eat, javelinas to chase, fellow pooches to befriend…and don’t forget murder. View the world through a dog’s eyes and watch him get excited about taking on a new case with the smartest human in the room. Spencer Quinn comes out with another winner with the second in the Chet and Bernie series.

Chet and his owner Bernie Little are hired to protect Adelina Borghese’s prizewinning pooch, Princess. After Chet steals Princess’ treat, they are summarily fired. However, soon after, both Princess and her owner disappear. Then Bernie’s on again off again girlfriend, Suzie Sanchez, a reporter, also disappears after a desperate phone call. The trail leads to an old ghost town where Bernie is arrested and Chet is knocked out. Chet gets separated from Bernie and begins his own adventure. Discovering first Adelina’s dead body, then finding Princess, he subsequently runs into two hippies who sell him to a man bound to take Chet to Alaska.

Who killed Adelina? Where is Suzie? Where did Princess disappear to for the second time? How do a strange acting sheriff and his deputy in the next county tie into the case? Chet and Bernie track down the clues.

As with the first book in the series, the POV is first person, or rather, uh, dog… Quinn does an excellent job of unfolding the case while showing both Chet’s intelligence and his lack of knowledge in certain areas such as human language, memory on certain cases, and his inability to realize when he’s done something because it’s instinctual. Apparently, even though this is only the second book in the series, Chet and Bernie are veterans of investigative work with Chet remembering a lot of previous adventures. I love the humor and Chet’s quirks. I so wanted to read the first book and when I had the chance to buy the second I took it. I will definitely be buying the third and fourth books in the this series and hope there will be plenty more.

Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, January 2012.

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