Rating: 5 stars
“To Fetch a Thief ” is the best Chet and Bernie mystery yet. Although it helps to have read the first two books in the series, this book can stand proudly on its own.
Die-hard Chet fans–and there are many, just visit the website–love the books for their true-to-life narration from the voice of the dog. At least, it’s how those of us who personify our dogs imagine that they think. Mystery lovers enjoy the plot with its twists and turns and, of course, some odious (and, luckily, odorous) villains.
In this mystery, Chet and Bernie follow the trail of a missing circus elephant. Along the way they learn about the elephant goad, or hook, which is used to train elephants and keep them obedient. The elephant and her trainer have disappeared, and the trail dead-ends in the middle of the desert. Even Chet, with his superior nose, cannot find Peanut.
There are animals aplenty. From Peanut the elephant to exotic snakes, baboons, and a parrot, Chet has lots of animal company on this non-stop, can’t-stop-reading mystery trek.
The first person narration (from Chet’s point of view) works so well because Quinn has nailed down the dog mannerisms, including the segues into scratching, smelling and just thinking about food (bacon, anyone?). When Chet and Bernie are separated, the story continues from Chet’s point of view. The reader is left in the dark about Bernie and what’s happening to him.
If you don’t shed a tear by the end of the story, you have no heart. Spencer Quinn, on the other hand, has a heart—a great big huge one–although he would never include such a redundancy in his writing.
It’s interesting to note that there is an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee where retired elephants can truly live out their days in peace. Also, the concept of a bond between Peanut and Chet is not solely the product of Spencer Quinn’s impressive imagination. The story Tarra and Bella, about an elephant at the sanctuary and her bond with a dog, is proof of the inter-species bond.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by Atria Books for review purposes.