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Dog on It by Spencer Quinn: A Chet and Bernie Mystery

March 16, 2019

Things aren't going so well for Bernie, a private detective, and his canine sidekick/partner, Chet. Their vintage Porsche is ready for the strap yard, Bernie's ex-wife is calling daily about Bernie's son's tuition, and it's been a while since their last profitable job. That's why when the mother of a missing teenage girl named Madison comes to Bernie frantic, Bernie is quick to take the job even though he suspects that the girl has purposely gone missing for a few hours. It has something to do with the $500 advance that the mother dangled in front of his face.

Meet Chet

Chet, Bernie's partner, is a wise and lovable detective who lends his canine intuition and superior sense of smell to the pair's investigations. He's a mixed breed who flunked out of K-9 class (something to do with the inopportune appearance of a stray cat). However, he's a detective through and through.

Missing Madison

The case of the missing girl, Madison, seems to solve itself when she returns unharmed later that day. However, the girl's story doesn't make sense and is full of inconsistencies. When she goes missing a second time several days later, both Bernie and Chet are suspicious. Ultimately, the case will lead them to Vegas and beyond and put both Chet and Bernie too close to death.

A Canine Cozy

Dog on It is a refreshing addition to the cozy mystery genre. There have been plenty of mystery series that feature cat detectives. (Rita Mae Brown's Mrs. Murphy and Lilian Braun Jackson's Koko and Yum-Yum come to mind.) However, until now, dog detectives have been woefully neglected. Dog on It changes all of that.

This fast-paced and well-constructed mystery is told completely from Chet's point of view and gives the reader fun insights into the inner workings of a dog's mind. For instance, what are dogs really thinking when they look at you with those sad, sad eyes or go tearing across the lawn without notice. On the cover of the book, Stephen King says that "Dog on It has more going for it than 50 of those cat cozies." He might just be right.

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