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A Cat Was Involved by Spencer Quinn
Review by Ernest Lilley
Atria Books Kindle  ISBN/ITEM#: B0078XG22M
Date: 14 August 2012

Links: Chet The Dog's Official Blog Entry /

Chet is the canine half of the Bernie Little Detective agency, and Bernie is the classic PI half, a bit in the Mitchum as Marlowe mold, once in the Army, once on the Valley police force, and a few more things that make him interesting, including a ukelele, but you'll get to uncover those in the books. In this very satisfying short story, what we finally get is Chet's back-story, alluded to in every book, about how he managed to flunk his K-9 final exam (leaping) and exactly how "...a cat was involved."

Quinn's timing in releasing this short was nearly perfect, since I'd just discovered the series recently and was trying to figure out where to suggest readers jump in. The beginning turns out to be a pretty good idea, whether you choose the short story or Dog On It the first full length mystery.

Chet's a hundred pounds of mixed breed mayhem that just barely flunked out of K-9 school, and after hearing about it in each of the five books it's nice to have the details filled in. Flunking out of police dog academy was undoubtedly the best thing that could have happened to either Chet or Bernie, the down at the heels PI who he winds up with, because they're two of a kind: mavericks that are often too smart for their own good, and too stubborn to let go of a case, or bone, before it's done.

Whether you're a fan of lighthearted mystery, or good old California Noir, or both, if you haven't met Chet and Bernie, Spencer Quinn's dog and detective duo, you're in for a rare treat. The best part is that after you finish the eShort: "A Cat Was Involved", you can go on to read the entire series: Dog on It, Thereby Hangs a Tail, The Dog Who Knew Too Much, To Fetch A Thief, and A Fistful of Collars. And I'd bet my last Slim Jim you will.

In fact, you might as well just break down and buy the Spencer Quinn Box Set, and even if it only gives you the first two books, Dog On It and Thereby Hangs a Tail, you'll save enough for a few dog biscuits.

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