Monday, November 18, 2013

The Sound and the Furry (Mystery Novel)

Each year I look forward to the next novel in Spencer Quinn’s Chet and Bernie Series. How can I do justice in a blog to a series where the protagonist is a dog, yet the books are not in the least bit cute? Bernie, the human detective, is all male; a man I would imagine that many female readers would love to meet in person. Chet, as the narrator, offers a world of scents, tastes, subtle sounds, and subtle movements that most humans rarely think about. He often uncovers clues long before Bernie does. But how can he explain them to Bernie? Bernie is the problem solver and the how-to guy. Together they are a team that solves cases.

The Sound and the Furry, the sixth book in the Chet and Bernie Series, sends Chet and Bernie far from home, to the Bayou of Louisiana. The story begins innocently enough. Bernie and Chet drive past a prison work gang, where they see a perp they had sent to jail. It turns out that Frenchie is worried about his missing brother, Ralph, an inventor and one of the only honest people in his family. For a fee, Chet and Bernie agree to go looking for him. Before they leave, Bernie is assaulted by a mysterious gang member and a person from a major detective agency offers Bernie a more lucrative case, which would require him to give up the Ralph search. Bernie sticks to his principles. Once in Louisiana, Chet and Bernie uncover a family feud, a story of missing shrimp, oil covered birds, and drugs. Oh, and Chet smells a “froggy, toady, snaky, with the peppery poopiness mixed in” coming from parts of the swamp. Bernie soon learns that things are not as they appear to be. Bernie and Chet work together to try to find Ralph.

I love both the storyline and craftsmanship of The Sound and the Furry. The setting is fresh. The only things that I missed were not seeing more of Suzy, Bernie’s girlfriend, and of Iggy, the next door dog.

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