Very Early Press Review From The Barnstable Patriot: The Dog Who Knew Too Much
There’s been a bunch of what I might call “dog things” in the media lately. First there was a TV documentary about scientists who are studying up on just how smart dogs really are – in fact, they’re smarter, or maybe more simpatico, than many of us had thought previously. They understand our cues and learn the meanings of our words better than many animals with a higher “intelligence” quotient. Then came a long article in a well-known literary magazine that discussed some of the same from a different angle, focusing on what qualities made dogs as a species diverge from wolves and make their homes among humans, and just what kinds of intelligence this affinity may have encouraged or spawned.
Frankly, I think a good plan for these science types might be for them to just lay down their research and pick up one of the books in Spencer Quinn’s delightful and insightful “Chet and Bernie” mystery series, and be done with the guesswork. Chet, the duo’s canine partner, narrates each book with doggie gusto, lending his singular methodology to this unique crime-solving team and living in each moment (we envy him), with few muddy introspections to mess up his mind or divert him from the case at hand. Unless it is possibly the smell of bacon and eggs, or a Hebrew National hot dog, wafting along on the breeze.
In their latest adventure, The Dog Who Knew Too Much, man and dog set out to look for a boy who’s gone missing from a wilderness camp. They run into some rough terrain, including drugs; a shifty local sheriff; a conniving judge who wears slippers with rawhide laces (Chet’s favorite); some murders in an old mine; and an old miner type and his mule, Rummy, who are straight out of Central Casting. Worst of all, Bernie is thrown into an unfriendly lockup, and it’s up to Chet, who slides – or maybe leaps – through the clutches of some nasty captors, to find a way back to his master.
Sometimes Chet tries to remember a past action, as when he’s faced with two facts and tries to connect them. “Some thought about that … started taking shape in my mind and then collapsed, kind of like a bridge in a war movie Bernie and I like, name escaping me at the moment.” We’ve all had that kind of connection collapse, but in Chet’s case, he doesn’t let the lapse bother him, just moves past it without regret. Bernie does the interviews; Chet smells the smells and hears the snaps in the bushes long before his human companion does. When confronting a “perp,” Bernie uses a kind of lopsided wile, and Chet uses his teeth (bared of course). This dog makes wonderful word connections, some hilariously off the mark, but his instinct for nabbing the bad guys is right on target. The pair’s separate skills make them a funny and surprisingly successful team. Who’s in charge here? Hard to say. One young boy asks Bernie, “Chet helps you in your work?” [the boy] said. “More the other way,” said Bernie.
Author Quinn, aka best-selling author (and Cape Codder) Peter Abrahams, interprets and then elaborates on the dog-human bond with skill and inventiveness, and throws a tasty bone to his readers for the next book: Who is that Chet look-alike dog that briefly appears late in the story? Stay tuned! – Barbara Clark
Attention Brewski’s human companion: send your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org and a signed copy of To Fetch A Thief will be winging your way.
This entry was posted on Friday, September 2nd, 2011 at 8:29 am and is filed under Chet The Dog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.