Monday, January 19, 2015

Paw and Order: Chet and Bernie go to Washington

Chet the dog narrates Detective Bernie Little's foray into political intrigue and espionage in Paw and Order.   The main fun in this series has always been Chet's own exuberant voice, but human interactions grab more of our attention in this story.  The sycophants, spooks, and hypocrites of the Federal City bring out deeper shades of noir than we've seen earlier in the series. 

It's a romantic whim that brings the pair to Washington, Bernie surprising his girl friend Suzie with a visit.  But the surprise is on Bernie, when he meets another man in Suzie's apartment.   In the back - and - forth between Bernie and Suzie, Chet feels an emotion new to him, jealousy.

But he keeps his spirits up, a model for us all.   "Nothing compares to the start of the day," he tells us, "except for the end and everything in between"(190).  (Note to self:  Keep the sayings of Chet handy next to my Bible and Prayer Book for morning inspiration.)

There's more fun in what Chet knows that Bernie can't detect.  At the crime scene, Chet alone notices the unmistakable aroma of guinea pig.  He knows before Bernie when someone's lying, because, "When humans are sailing along nicely, they've got all their bodily moistures under control, and when they start to go off the rails, the moistures rise up" (112).  Chet spots a weird "bird" hovering nearby, and we figure out long before Bernie does that he's under drone surveillance.  At one point, Bernie wishes aloud that Chet could talk.  Chet is incredulous, thinking, "I talk all the time!"  But Bernie doesn't get it.

Quinn skillfully sets out clues to a big revelation, and we follow Bernie all the way up the ladder, to find something we hadn't expected.

The story's good, and any time spent with Chet is a pleasure. 
Quinn, Spencer.  Paw and Order. Kindle Edition. Atria, Simon and Schuster, 2014.

I've written about other books by the same author:  

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