Book Page Reviews A Fistful of Collars


As sole proprietors of the Little Detective Agency, canine detective Chet and his (human) friend Bernie are at it again in A Fistful of Collars. After the mayor of Bernie’s Southwest desert hometown (“the Valley”) successfully promotes the area as a location for the newest Thad Perry blockbuster film, the pair act as minders for the popular but problem-ridden actor. Turns out the oddly winsome Thad has a way-back connection to the Valley. No one in his entourage seems to want his past known . . . maybe badly enough to kill?

As in his four previous books, author Spencer Quinn features the indomitable Chet as narrator, and you’ll never have a dull moment as the cocky canine wags his way into your affections. The book is full of hilarious verbal fly-bys, and these Chet-isms are what give the books their inventive humor, as Chet alternately misses the point or gets it with bells on. He explains that an idea can slip right by him, a fact he quickly accepts: “My mind shrank away from the thought. Always a surprisingly nice feeling when my mind did that: I had one of those minds that was on my side, if you know what I mean, which I actually don’t.”

You’ll never have a dull moment as the cocky canine wags his way into your affections.

The quiet Bernie (one wishes he’d say more) is hopeless with expressing feelings, especially toward the opposite sex; and he’s a loser at finances. But as the brains behind the operation, he has a fine-tuned sense of what’s going on in people’s heads, exacting the crucial truth from troubled suspects. Chet contributes his superior doggie hearing and speed, and he has a wonderful sense of what’s buried inside the human heart, fueling those human needs that sometimes confuse him. Bernie puts ‘em on the spot, Chet gets ‘em by the collar.

This book contains some fascinating cameo roles: a smallish dog barking from the desert outside Bernie’s gate; a frightening killer dog named Outlaw; and Brando, a silky-smooth, golden-eyed cat who belongs to Thad. Chet’s full of surprises, and they frequently surprise him, too. We hope that Quinn (a k a well-known author Peter Abrahams) doesn’t tire of this, pardon me, arresting pair.

– Barbara Clark

Welcome Miss Lucy.

And it’s still August, meaning Dog On It is still Pennie’s Pick at Costco. And now they’ve got the rest of the series too.


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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 30th, 2012 at 8:46 am and is filed under Chet The Dog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

70 Responses to “Book Page Reviews A Fistful of Collars”

  1. B.Stover
    9:17 am on August 30th, 2012

    I’m only glancing through the review in case it describes too much of the story. I really like her description, “Chet-isms.”

    Good morning all.

  2. Barb & Maggie
    9:17 am on August 30th, 2012

    Good morning all. We’re baaack! Good review from Ms Clark. She seems to have a good understanding of Chet.

    Move went well and Comcast came Monday, but couldn’t get the computer hooked up till last night. I am a techno flunky so had to wait for my DIL to do it. She is a wiz at things like that.

    Maggie is adjusting to the new house and small yard, but she still thinks she is supposed to bark at everyone who walks by or at every dog she sees. She has spent her whole life in the country, so this is all new to her. I think I am really going to like it here after the adjustment period. The house needs TLC but will be nice when done. More good points than bad.

    Did we miss any major events in the last 5 days? Hope no one is under the quilt right now. We missed youse guys!

  3. Rose
    10:04 am on August 30th, 2012

    Good Morning B!

    Welcome back, B&M! We missed you on this here blog! I’m sure once you add your own finihing touches to your new home, both you and Maggie will feel as if you had been there forever.. Glad to have you back!

  4. Riö – The Evil Pug
    10:13 am on August 30th, 2012

    Review!…I can’t read the review because we still haven’t read past the first paragraph…heh!

  5. Riö – The Evil Pug
    10:26 am on August 30th, 2012

    Patio!…Someone said there is going to be some serious patio-time, a lounge chair, lemonade, and AFOC come this Saturday….heh!heh!…I can fit on that chair to, you know…snort!

  6. Tupper and Gilly
    10:33 am on August 30th, 2012

    BARB! We missed you! So glad to hear that the move went well and that all is looking good. Maggie, don’t worry. Soon you will feel like a sophisticated city dog, and will view the world with cool eyes, while resting your lovely chin on your paws.

    We just saw all of GLAD’s artwork on yesterday’s posts. My Dawg, but that girl is talented!

    Mama would also like to comment on the pictures of the Really Long Shew. She would like you to remember that the camera adds 10 pounds, and she was wearing about 10 cameras at the time.

    And yes, Siber – the name of that wall sculpture is indeed “White Wolf”. The Howlers’ “Watching Eyes” was the concept piece that this one grew from. Theirs is a little smaller – Mama’s pieces tend to get bigger and bigger in their final execution.

  7. Siber-H
    10:34 am on August 30th, 2012

    I ditto Stover’s post.

    Welcome back Barb and Maggie. We are glad you have returned to us.

    Goor Morning All

  8. Rose
    10:37 am on August 30th, 2012

    Rio, sounds like you and your friends have big plans for Saturday!

  9. Siber-H
    10:38 am on August 30th, 2012

    T&G The White Wolf is magnificent!!

  10. Rose
    10:39 am on August 30th, 2012

    T&G, tell your mum she is absolutely beautiful and delightful as she is, 10 cameras or not!

  11. Rose
    10:41 am on August 30th, 2012

    Awesome Dawson, you read pretty darn fast! I hope the OHs enjoy the book.

  12. OleyHowlers
    10:52 am on August 30th, 2012

    Good morning, All. We like the review. It didn’t give anything away that we didn’t already know, but it seriously whet our appetite.
    T&G, we recognized Watching Eyes!
    Barb, it is great to hear from you, and we’re glad the move went well. Maggie, we think it will be fun to have so many people and doggies to watch.

  13. Riö – The Evil Pug
    10:54 am on August 30th, 2012

    Plans!…The trouble with my friend’s plans and her mother’s plans is that they are always different and someone never really gets to do what she wants to do on the weekends…grunt!…Except this coming Sunday is hers to enjoy all day long at the baseball game…sniff!

  14. Siber-H
    10:58 am on August 30th, 2012

    The Rockies will be playing the Padres.

  15. B.Stover
    11:17 am on August 30th, 2012

    Welcome back Barb and Maggie.

  16. Riö – The Evil Pug
    11:23 am on August 30th, 2012

    Moved!…Barbs all moved!…snort!snort!…Barb, now that you are an expert, can you sell her mothers house and then pack and move her somewhere??…heh!

  17. Riö – The Evil Pug
    11:41 am on August 30th, 2012

    Bear!…When you wake up and then after you eat, tell me the latest episode you have seen of Breaking Bad…snort!…What do you think is happening to Walt (mr.white)? …grunt!

  18. Melanie
    11:53 am on August 30th, 2012

    “arresting pair” snicker . . .

    Barb and MagPie!!!! Howdy! Good to have you back.

    Been down the hill, back up, going to rest, have lunch that YSAS and Friend are cooking, make peach brandy, say goodnight to YSAS and Friend (they are going back down the hill to have dinner at The India House), go to bed, wake up and take them to the train in the morning.

    Whew! Then all Saturday and Sunday i am RESTING!

  19. BearSpiritDog
    11:53 am on August 30th, 2012

    Late to the Blog!
    Breakfast reminder from Rio…will be back in a bit after a bite. Heh.

    Welcome back Barb& Magpie!!!

  20. Melanie
    11:54 am on August 30th, 2012

    Oh, yeah . . . Got this in an email. Pretty good.

  21. Rose
    11:54 am on August 30th, 2012

    Rio, you’ll have to tell us how your friend’s day at the ball gamme is, and what she ate at the fancy restaurant she is going to. Oh, and let us know if she catches any foul balls, or brings another baseball toy home for you and Beau.

  22. OleyHowlers
    12:33 pm on August 30th, 2012

    T.C. Is at the top for the second time today ! Is that an omen for FOM?

    Friday night will be the last Blue (wolf) Moon until 2015.

  23. Tupper and Gilly
    1:16 pm on August 30th, 2012

    We will all need to go out and howl at the Blue Moon!

    The coyotes in our area will be willing to cooperate. They were prowling around outside last night. Gilly got so scared she climbed up on the bed and hid her head under Mama’s arm, crying er little heart out. Then when they started moving away and their howls were softer, she got real brave and started howling back. Corgis are NOT supposed to howl. Personally, I Tupper, am far too dignified to be concerned with the howlings of silly coyotes. Or silly Corgis.

  24. Buddy
    1:28 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Every canine needs a thinking cat, Melanie. I act as thinking cat for all the Howlers.

  25. Basil and Sage
    1:51 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Yah, that’s it. That’s why we are always trying to sit on the Corgis’ heads….we are just trying to help.

  26. T.C.
    1:57 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Ha ha ha ha ha! Excuse me but I can’t stop laughing. Buddy as Thinking Cat. Talk about “the blind leading the blind”.

  27. dawson
    2:22 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Rose: I did clear my calendar when I heard the book was coming and then read it every chance I got until bedtime. Woke up and started in again, only stopping for a wee crying.
    Hoorah for Barb and Maggie: The hard part is finally done. Now you can have fun making your new house your home.

  28. Riö – The Evil Pug
    3:00 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Eating!…Is Bear still eating?…snort!…That Guy!

  29. SnowBella
    4:41 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Welcome back, Barb and Maggie!

  30. Melanie
    4:50 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Okay, peach brandy canned and in basement. Stays around 45 degrees there year round. At Thanksgiving we will open one up. I will be able to smell it, Dan will be able to have a little and everyone else can have some. We will then decide if more fermenting time is needed.

    Computer keeps turning off on its own. Have a call into our Mac Doc. Hopefully, I’ll be back later!

  31. Rose
    5:01 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Dawson, it’s pretty kool that the book took place in your area.

  32. Belle Starr
    5:03 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Masquers: I’m trying to calculate how long until my most, special, best friend, Rose arrives. My two-legged says my math is a little off. Can I borrow you as my thinking kat?

  33. B.Stover
    5:04 pm on August 30th, 2012

    My cable is back on. Life is difficult without cable.

  34. Melanie
    5:53 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Laughing here, B.Stover.

    I have a small break. The youngsters have gone out to eat. The oldsters will be going to be in awhile. Reading? I have a new Bones book and Louise Penny book on Kindle . . or I could “watch” another episode of “Foyle’s War” . . pondering.

    The computer works if you are doing something. If nothing is happening? It turns itself off. Tony, the Mac Doc, is coming tomorrow. Right when I leave with YSAS and Friend to take them to the train.

  35. Melanie
    6:05 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Oh forgot to say, besides everything that I’ve done today, I had to bar a respiratory therapist from ever coming back to this house.

    What fun.

    She is not with hospice. She was here to make sure what kind of portable O2 Dan could use. She then proceeded to alienate me, Zoë burst into tears and left, and kept telling Dan he didn’t need to listen to the nurses because she knew better.

    When she finally shut up, I told her that no the O2 machine was not going into Dan’s bedroom because I had no way of making sure he wouldn’t mess with it. That he is sick in other ways besides his O2 level which isn’t that bad anyway AND
    HE’S IN HOSPICE. Which she didn’t know because she hadn’t read his chart.

    She’s writing her name down to get in touch with her and I said no, that she will not be allowed to come back to this house. She was surprised and asked why. I told her. She was not pleased.

    That made 3 of us. Zoe had thought it was her fault and had gone upstairs to be with the Pack. When I went upstairs to see her, I told her I had barred the woman from ever coming here again.

    “It just wasn’t me?” I told Zoe that the woman was rude, had not read the file, didn’t listen to anyone, had told us to ignore the nurses and that she knew best. AND she had made Zoe cry and NO ONE was going to do that.

    I’d call her a female dog, but I like female dogs. . .

  36. Siber-H
    6:17 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Melanie, That is why mom will never use that word either…because of female dogs.

  37. OleyHowlers
    6:25 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Glad you got tough with that broad, Melanie.

    Mom just got her hair trimmed. Why, you ask? Because she is letting it grow. And they think us doggies have no logic. Snort!

  38. OleyHowlers
    6:26 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Great. Now we look like a cat.

  39. Wose
    6:43 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Maggie up top!

    My very BFF, Belle Starr: It is exactly 180 days until the Prof and I arrive in Alaska!

  40. Barb & Maggie
    6:55 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Melanie, You go girl! The female dog word can be used in several ways. We understand.

    Kelly came over today and helped Barb mark and tape the walls for striping. Did the darker green and now today did the lighter green stripe. Looks good. This is the pink/green/blue room for the kids. Floral print bedding for the 3 girls. The two male grands will have to suck it up and sleep in a girly room. It will make them stronger, right?

    Barb is pooped, must go rest.

  41. Masquers
    6:55 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Belle-Starr: I would be honored to be your thinking (kap) kat.
    We have been so busy here there has been no time to watch the newly installed cable tv. Someone here remarked that these cable companies are like drug dealers. You are suckered in with a freebie and pretty soon find yourself hooked on the product.
    Melanie: Good for you…telling that know-it-all where to go!

  42. Wose
    6:57 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Melanie, you go girl!

  43. Wose
    6:59 pm on August 30th, 2012

    BelleStarr, if you can open your two-legged’s e-mail, you will see our flight schedule to Alaska…

  44. OleyHowlers
    7:08 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Wose, it is so completely cool that you will be joining Bella and the kennel for the 2013 Iditarod. We are in awe of you.

  45. B.Stover
    7:14 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Melanie: Good job.

  46. BearSpiritDog
    7:14 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Good Grief! The day has gotten away from me.
    Sorry, Rio. First it was breakfast then time to eat lunch…..
    As to Walt…I think you mean Eisenberg (Say My Name) his Mr. Hyde to Mr. White/Dr. Jekyll persona.
    The writing this season is the best! Looks like only one more episode until the mid-season hiatus? That’s okay…the suspense is almost too much to bear. Heh – Bear

  47. Wose
    7:32 pm on August 30th, 2012

    OleyHowlers, aw youse guys are making me blush! Took a lot of arm-twisting, but I came out the winner! I still can’t believe it’s really true…

  48. Wose
    7:48 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Beau is up top! I love his soulful eyes.

  49. Trigger
    7:51 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Chief Instructor Wookie – Grand Master-Counter Surfer – who do you think taught Franklin and me?

    Oley: Yes, we of the Nation Within, are looking forward to this Once in a Blue Moon occasion. Ahhroooahhrooo! See you there!

  50. Siber-H
    8:05 pm on August 30th, 2012

    pssst Trigger, It is called the Wolf Blue Moon.

  51. Trigger
    8:11 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Siber-H: How could I have forgotten? Of course – it is the Wolf Blue Moon – a most important distinction.

  52. Riö - The Evil Pug
    8:18 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Cable!…We are in a quandry over what to watch on TV tonight…sniff!.. The Republican Convention or The Republican Convention…snort!…There is not much choice tonight….grunt!…She says next week we have to watch The Democratic Convention because it is during the conventions she decides for sure who to vote for…grunt!… The Rockies must have played this afternoon and I missed it..grump!

  53. Riö - The Evil Pug
    8:20 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Melanie!…Fight!Fight!Fight!… wow!…I wish I could have been there when you told that lady off…heh!heh!…You are my hero you Fighting Irish, you!…chorkel!

  54. Masquers
    8:33 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Rose: This trip North to Alaska is HUGE. How did you ever persuade the Prof?
    We have to sign off early because it has been one EL of a day.
    See youse tomorrow.
    G’night everyone.

  55. Princess Sam
    8:59 pm on August 30th, 2012

    We are watching convention stuff off and on. My boy said he’s not going to vote for president – he said since New York’s electoral college has given our states votes to the democrats since 1988 and will again, his vote doesn’t count. Our state doesn’t split the electoral college votes like most states do. Neither party comes here to campaign so at least that’s a small blessing.

  56. Tupper and Gilly
    9:28 pm on August 30th, 2012

    On behalf of Melanie the Fighting Irish, she sends her goodnights. Her computer completely refused to turn on tonight. (we think the computer was witness to her tirade against the unspeakable broad, and is shaking in its electrodes)

    On behalf of us – we are saying hello and goodnight all in one. Mama has to take the van to get new tires first thing tomorrow morning. Do you all KNOW what tires for a cargo van COST??? Yikes! There goes our snausages budget. Good thing lobsters are still cheaper than bologna up at the beach.

  57. Belle Starr
    9:32 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Wose: My two-legged insisted on putting me in a bucket before she read me your email. Something about easier to clean, whatever that means. I pay attention to only half of what she says. I can’t wait to meet you.

    Masquers: Can you blur up here for Iditarod, too? My two-legged won’t mind. I’ll just let her know when you get here that I invited you.

  58. Riö - The Evil Pug
    9:34 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Wheels!…Oh no! There goes all the money Rose spent on Golinka’s bears and jewelry…heh!…I hope there is some left-over for vacation time…wuffle!…What’s a cargo van look like?

  59. SnowBella
    10:15 pm on August 30th, 2012

    AJ drove straight through the night and got home around 230 this morning. Was the door locked? Of course.

  60. Princess Sam
    10:27 pm on August 30th, 2012

    And about voting, Mommy says we are ALL going to vote. That means me too. Woo hoo. I don’t know when, but hey everybody, ha ha, I’m going to vote.

  61. Kirby T. Penworthy
    10:35 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Hey, y’all! I thought I’d never get here! First of all Mom went to dinner with some friends, then she went to get some dinner for Dad. Then when she was coming in the house everything went wrong, because Those Pugs are here! My boy and his girlfriend went to visit Mickey and Donald, so Those Pugs are going to be here all weekend long.

    Anyway, when Mom was coming in the back door, loaded down with Dad’s dinner, her doggie bag (will I get any???) and her totebag full of books, Winston Pug took the opportunity to boogie on out the door. Mom says she never knew a pug could move so fast! I coulda told her that, after knowing Rio for so long! Anyway, she gave chase and finally stopped Winston halfway down the driveway. But then her hands were full so she couldn’t pick him up, so she tried to “herd” him back. Which he did until he got to the steps, when he turned around and took off again! So then Mom had to drop all her stuff and chase him again, and this time she picked him up and brought him back inside. And then she had to walk them, give Winston his medicine, and give both Winston and Molly their snacks. And now she finally has time for me. It’s going to be a loooong weekend. 🙁

  62. Riö - The Evil Pug
    10:37 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Locked!…Thank dawg that door was locked…heh!….How is The Cabin In The Woods coming along?…snort!…Have youse guys finished it yet? I will need to see some photos before I pack my little knapsack and move into it…snuffle!

  63. Riö - The Evil Pug
    10:40 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Kirby!…heh!snort!heh!…chorkel!…oh you are in for a rare treat having two guys like me around for a whole weekend…chuffle!

  64. SnowBella
    10:41 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Rio: our goal is to have it mostly finished by Monday. We are hoping to get our paws on a reasonably priced, small woodstock. I will definitely send pictures of the finished product.

  65. Barb & Maggie
    11:03 pm on August 30th, 2012

    We are watching the big speech too. See y’all tomorrow. Nice to be back!

  66. Riö - The Evil Pug
    11:12 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Clint!…He is having way too much fun up there…heh!…Good for him – he is doing great….snort!…What Clint says goes, thats what I say…heh!

  67. Kirby T. Penworthy
    11:22 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Rio: Treats are yummy — not sure I would catagorize Those Pugs visiting the same way!

  68. Riö - The Evil Pug
    11:38 pm on August 30th, 2012

    Kirby!…Just make sure you sleep in the same room with them so you get the full pug experience…heh!snort!heh!…All weekend!…chorkel!sneeze!

  69. SnowBella
    11:42 pm on August 30th, 2012

    KirbyT will be begging for a long stay in the Sans Snort and Snore Sanctuary cabin by the end of the weekend.

  70. Belle Starr
    12:59 am on August 31st, 2012

    Wose: I can’t remember if you still have to have lightening bolts on Friday mornings. I sure as hell hope not. My two-legged just said, “Language.” Why did she say that one word? No idea. She did say that she should say something entertaining for you to read tomorrow just in case you do have to have lightening bolts. Too bad—she doesn’t know she isn’t funny.

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