Thereby Hangs a Tail – A Book Review

Not only am I an author, I am also an avid reader.  It is my hope to offer periodic book reviews to give you a glimpse at my bookshelf, and hopefully encourage you to pick up a good book.  Most of what I read is from a Christian worldview, although I do read some secular books from time to time.

Thereby Hangs a Tail – A Chet and Bernie Mystery (Book 2)

By Spencer Quinn

Published 2010 by Atria Books

I bought this book used from Amazon.  It was a hardback edition, which I wasn’t expecting.  But format doesn’t really affect content!

Thereby Hangs a Tail is the second installment in the Chet and Bernie Mystery series.  I think Chet, the K-9 school failure, is such a charming narrator.  Again, like in Dog On It, there is plenty of humor.  This book had a lot more bad language than the first one, which was a bit of a detriment in my opinion, but not overly offensive.  Bernie is ex-military, so I guess I can cut him a break!

In this novel Chet and Bernie are hired to protect Princess, a pampered champion show dog who is coming to town for a big dog show.  Before they can even start on the job, Chet experiences a slight break down in his self-control and they are fired before they can even begin.  Shortly after, Princess and her owner are abducted and Chet and Bernie find themselves back on the job – which is a good thing because Chet is always commenting on how their finances are a mess.  (Plus Bernie uses some bad judgement in regards to tin futures in this story.)

The plot involves a ghost town, a corrupt sheriff and his deputy, hippies and murder.  Chet and Bernie get separated and as Chet works to find his way home, he manages to stumble upon Princess.  The scenes between Chet and Princess are some of the best of the book.  It was nice in this second installment of the series to have Bernie’s character fleshed out a little bit more.  It’s a bit difficult, since the narrator is a dog, you don’t get a lot of description (Chet admits he has trouble with colors) or in-depth character development.  But this book does give a few glimpses into Bernie’s military past and eludes to some of his war experiences and difficulties.

In my review of Dog On It I mentioned that near the end of the book the dog groomer found something on Chet that concerned her, but then it was never mentioned again.  That plot development did continue over into this second book and you find out more about it, but it was then left again as a bit of a cliff-hanger at the end.

I love books that make me smile, giggle or laugh out loud.  Thereby Hangs a Tail did all three.  Although the mystery is a bit simple and fairly easy to solve long before the end, it was still a satisfying read, mostly because of Chet’s loveable character.  Now I’m anxious to start book 3 – To Fetch a Thief.

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