This evening I finished reading The Sound and the Furry, the sixth Chet and Bernie mystery by Spencer Quinn. I enjoy this series so much that I went to my local Barnes and Noble a couple of weeks ago looking for the latest installment, and it did not disappoint. The mysteries are always interesting, but the real charm of the books is their narrator, Chet, the canine half of the Little Detective Agency (Bernie Little being the human partner). Chet’s interpretation of what’s going on is often hilarious, but clearly Bernie couldn’t have a better partner. Open the book just about anywhere and you’ll find Chet’s take on Bernie (who can do no wrong), humans in general, and the joys of being a dog.
Here’s an example: “Batshit crazy,” Scooter said, hanging me up right there, The night a bat flew into the house, back in the Leda days, and Bernie chasing after it with a broom, swatting and swatting the air! Had I ever been more excited in my life? The screams of Leda’s: I can still hear them. Had the bat left any poop behind? Would I have missed something like that? Does the bear shit in the woods? That was too much. I lost the thread completely.
Chet loses the thread quite often, distracted by a stray bit of bacon or an equally stray memory, but he always comes through for Bernie. In The Sound and the Furry, the partners leave their Arizona home territory for a trip to Louisiana, where Chet enjoys some fascinating new smells and has a close encounter with an alligator.
Another mystery series I am enjoying comes from my friend Susan M. Boyer. Last year Susan’s Lowcountry Boil won the Agatha Award for best first mystery. Lowcountry Bombshell, the second adventure of South Carolina private investigator Liz Talbot, is, if anything, even better, involving a client who appears to be Marilyn Monroe’s doppelganger. Calista McQueen was born exactly fifty years after Marilyn, and her life has mirrored the late actress’ in too many ways. As she approaches the anniversary of Marilyn’s death, it becomes Liz’s job to make sure Calista doesn’t become a dead ringer. By the time she reaches a solution, Liz finds herself in as much danger as Calista.
The Lowcountry mysteries are set on the coastal island of Stella Maris, populated with Liz’s family and friends (including one occasionally helpful ghost), and reading them is like going home with Liz for a visit. I recommend them highly. And if you like cozy mysteries, check out the rest of the Henery Press catalog.