I am an avid reader of several genres, including mysteries, and an animal lover, so I often read books which include a four-legged character. Some authors keep the animal’s involvement mysterious—is it just coincidence, or is Koko the cat really digging up clues for James Qwilleran in Lilian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who… series? Some authors go the other route and give their animal characters human (or superhuman) traits, like Joe Grey and friends in the Joe Grey series by Shirley Rousseau Murphy. I have to admit, though, that I’ve rarely found a series as riveting, charming, and laugh-out-loud funny as the Chet and Bernie mysteries by Spencer Quinn. Even my husband, no mystery lover, enjoys them.
In this series, Chet the dog is the first-person narrator, and the author manages to keep the voice consistent and true. Chet, a K-9 school dropout who is partnered with private detective Bernie Little, often makes me think, "Yes! That's exactly what my dog used to do!" The reader is treated to a sort of dual consciousness when Chet sometimes describes events or conversations he himself does not understand but which enlighten the reader. The mystery itself is always intriguing and action-packed, and I anticipate (with Chet) his grabbing the perp by the pants leg: case closed! If you like print, the library has all three titles so far, but don’t deprive yourself of the pleasure of the books on CD, even though SJPL only has the first two in the series, Dog On It and Thereby Hangs a Tail; reader James Frangione does a great job.