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Dog on It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery (Chet and Bernie Mysteries) Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 10, 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 1,120 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, February 10, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Set in the Valley of an unnamed Western state, Quinn's winning debut introduces one smart canine detective and his partner, PI Bernie Little of the Little Detective Agency, who's pretty quick on the uptake himself. Chet, a lively mongrel with one white ear and one black ear, serves as the book's narrator, communicating with Bert via doggy methods that verge on the telepathic (I wagged my tail, that quick one-two wag meaning yes, not the over-the-top one that wags itself and can mean lots of things). Wealthy divorcée Cynthia Chambliss hires Bernie, a former cop, to find her missing 15-year-old daughter, Madison, whose father is a real estate developer who smells suspiciously of cat. (Chet's keen sense of smell comes in handy.) When Madison reappears and disappears again, her dad says she's just a runaway, though Bernie thinks otherwise. Chet must use all his superdog tricks to extricate Bernie from a mighty tight fix in a climax that fans of classic mysteries are sure to appreciate. (Feb.)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* An exciting new mystery series debuts with this first Chet and Bernie novel. Chet the Jet is a dog who failed K-9 school (cats in the open country played a role in his demise), but now he is a dedicated PI and works with Bernie, owner of the Little Detective Agency. The story is told entirely from Chet’s point of view, which will delight dog-loving mystery readers, but the book is also an excellent PI tale, dogs aside, as Chet and Bernie investigate the disappearance of a teenage girl whose developer dad may be up to no good. Chet may not understand things like maps (he doesn’t need them, as he can sniff his way home), but he is a great sleuth who finds the girl and solves the case. The always upbeat Chet may well be one of the most appealing new detectives on the block, but conscientious, kind, and environmentally aware Bernie is a close runner-up. Excellent and fully fleshed primary and secondary characters, a consistently doggy view of the world, and a sprightly pace  make this a not-to-be-missed debut. Essential for all mystery collections and for dog lovers everywhere. --Jessica Moyer

Product Details

  • Series: Chet and Bernie Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Atria; First Edition edition (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416585834
  • ASIN: B002PJ4FZU
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,727,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Spencer Quinn lives on Cape Cod with his dog, Audrey. He is currently working on the next Chet and Bernie novel.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rita Sydney on February 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The 41 reviewers who preceded me pretty much say it all about this book. It's WONDERFUL. I just want to add a couple thoughts.

I don't think this book can be categorized as noir. Chet, the dog, is not so much hard-boiled as simply being his animal self. Unsentimental. Non-judgmental. Ready to eat at every opportunity.

The dog-as-narrator conceit was used most realistically by the author in that Chet is not made to be (or think he is) smarter than Bernie. Most charming was the way Mr. Quinn captures the spirit of Chet who lives in the moment, filled with a joie de vivre at the pleasures of life: fresh water, riding shotgun in a car, a good nap.

Please, Amazon, find out when the next Chet and Bernie story is due. I want to pre-order.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is great new voice in detective fiction.

And in detective fiction, voice is critical. At the end of the day, we come back to Kinsey Milhone or Stephanie Plum or Marcus Didius Falco because we want to spend more time with the character.

Chet is a great central voice. Quinn doesn't play cute and he doesn't gimmick up the story. There are many ways that the notion of a canine main character could go horribly wrong, and Quinn avoids them all.

Chet is out of the gumshoe tradition, looking out for his down-on-his-luck partner Bernie:

"She got out of the car, a tall woman with long fair hair and a smell of flowers and lemons, plus a trace of another smell that reminded me of hat happens only sometimes to the females in my world. What would that be like, having it turned on all the time? Probably drive you crazy. I glanced at Bernie, watching her, patting his hair into place. Oh, Bernie."

Chet has the hard-boiled nerve, the observational skills, the running internal commentary of a classic detective, but he has his appropriately dog-like qualities as well-- an occasional attention span issue, as well a tendency to act, now and then, literally before he realizes he has done it.

The set-up of the mystery is interesting, the solution interesting but not entirely surprising. And Quinn does fall back on one whopper of a coincidence to save the day at one point.

But Chet and Bernie are a fun and entertaining team, and Quinn is a prose master. If you read detective fiction for the main character or because you believe it's where much of the best writing is done, this one is for you. It probably adds a bit if you have a dog of your own, but that's not a requirement to enjoy this excellent first outing.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I picked up this book because as a life-long dog owner the concept of a story presented from the dog's point of view intrigues me. My first exposure to this was Garth Stein's "The Art of Racing in the Rain", which was an excellent book. I found "Dog on It" to be entertaining but not as well written as Stein's book, perhaps because it didn't grab you emotionally like the other book. Some of the scenarios in the story were improbable, much like Dudley Doright showing up just in the nick of time. On the other hand, the thought processes presented for the dog were probably spot on, being frequently scattered and distracted by all manner of stimuli. It was a fun read and I'll likely pick up others in the series, but I wouldn't call it an award winner. A good way to wile away an afternoon. I do think you can easily cheer for Chet and Bernie as the heroes.
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Format: Hardcover
Dog On It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery, by Spencer Quinn is a fun new debut novel.

This fun mystery introduces two memorable characters: Chet the Jet, the narrator is a lovable dog who failed K-9 school. The story is told from Chet's point of view. Chet works cheap, (just feed him well), he doesn't talk back, and is a loyal companion to Bernie.

Bernie Little, part owner of Little Detective Agency. He is divorced and strapped for money because of his alimony and child support debts. Bernie is hired to find a fifteen-year old girl who disappears, reappears and disappears again. When Madison disappears the second time Chet and Bernie are on the case and the antics begin. Chet knows were Madison is but he can't speak so he can't tell his owner, and since he doesn't understand why they are looking for her, he often falls asleep at inappropriate times during the investigation. There is one touching part where Chet ends up in an animal shelter and learns more than he cares to about euthanasia.

The Chet and Bernie characters are memorable, they'll make you laugh when you least expect it. If you like fun mysteries, and have a soft spot for lovable pooches (especially one with a nose for solving mysteries), Dog on It, is a fun story that is sure to please. I look forward to the next Chet and Bernie book in this new, fun series.

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Format: Hardcover
Incredibly creative and fun to read!!! I love that the book is written from the dogs perspective. Absoultely ingenious. I couldn't stop laughing. If you love dogs, you will love this book.
2 Comments 49 of 55 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished this book and wanted to write a review immediately. It is rare for me to feel so strongly about a book that I want to share it with the world right away!

Spencer Quinn is masterful at creating Chet's voice -- it is funny and touching, with just the right amount of doggy distraction and attitude. I enjoyed reading when Chet discovers some clues and encounters some bad guys and is unable to communicate this to Bernie, his beloved boss, except with doggy stuff like barking, growling, wagging his tail. Interestingly, these episodes create a kind of tension as the story unfolds more slowly because of it. A great plot device.

Chet exudes such pure joy in his doggy life -- naps, water, snacks, walks, scratches around the ears, and most of all, riding shotgun with Bernie -- it is hard not to get caught up in it. He makes wry observations about people and "his guys" (other dogs) and other animals. Chet is such a wonderful influence on Bernie, who is sad about his divorce and separation from his son Charlie, has money troubles, and worries about the state of the planet (particularly the desert). Bernie is often buoyed up by Chet's unconditional love, such a wonderful canine trait.

As other reviewers have said, the mystery is not huge, but it is an interesting puzzle to arrive at the final solution. Yes, coincidences play a part, but it did not interfere with my enjoyment of the book. I loved it.
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