Scents and Sensibility by Spencer Quinn

Scents and Sensibility by Spencer Quinn Purchase:

    For dog lovers looking for whimsical summer reads, you may discover the world as seen through a dog’s nose and point of view. You’ll be amazed at what your furry friends really think about you and life in general, especially when it comes to solving a mystery.

    When a mysterious case of illegal cactus smuggling comes to their attention, Chet and his human PI companion, Bernie Little, find themselves in a prickly situation in this eighth book in the New York Times best-selling mystery series.

    In the latest entry in the immensely popular Chet and Bernie mystery series, Private Investigator Bernie Little and his canine companion, Chet, return home to encounter some alarming developments. First off, Bernie’s wall safe – normally hidden behind the waterfall picture in the office – is gone, and with it Bernie’s grandfather’s watch, their most valuable possession.

    And next door, old Mr. Parsons is under investigation for being in possession of a saguaro cactus illegally transplanted from the desert. Bernie and Chet go deep into the desert to investigate. Is it possible that such a lovely old couple have a terrible secret in their past? Chet and Bernie discover bad things going on in the wilderness, far worse that cactus smuggling, and all connected to a strange but innocent-seeming desert festival called Arrow Bright.

    They unearth leads that take them back to a long-ago kidnapping that may not have been a kidnapping and threaten a ruthless and charismatic criminal with a cult following, a criminal who sees at once what Chet and Bernie mean to each other and knows how to exploit it.

    Review by Leslie:

    Spencer Quinn
    Spencer Quinn

    I always go through a little internal debate about this series. He repeats himself a lot and uses the same scenarios over and over – and yet – they are still fun. Perhaps you have to be a dog lover. I know with my dogs, they love familiar actions.

    Somehow, Spencer Quinn and Jim Frangione manage to portray the freshness dogs bring to the repetitive and even mundane! While my dogs do love doing something new, they also bring the same enthusiasm to every little daily routine.

    I’ve never read this on paper, but I suspect that Jim Frangione brings a lot to the table and makes these stories even more fun.

    Review by Roz Shea for Bookreporter:

    Chet and Bernie return home after their adventures in the nation’s capital, remembered simply as Foggy Bottom to Chet. Being a dog, the word bottom resonates better in Chet’s vast but sometimes slightly distorted vocabulary than something as prosaic as nation’s capital. The Nation is the Realm of Dogdom to this canine narrator who helps his private detective partner, Bernie, solve crimes.

    A quick sniff around the house leads Chet to the home office of the Little Detective Agency, where Bernie discovers that his safe, concealed behind a suspiciously askew painting on the wall, is minus his gun and Bernie’s most prized possession, his grandfather’s repeatedly pawnable watch. Chet’s nose helps him to suspect who was in the office while they were gone, because he smells the scent of his favorite dog friend and next-door neighbor, Iggy, on the carpet. The only person with a key to the house is Bernie’s ex-wife, Leda, so it takes Bernie’s human thinking processes a little longer to put it all together.

    And so begins book eight in this delightful series that kicked off with DOG ON IT. SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY sends Chet and Bernie off on a perilous pursuit of drug smugglers, kidnappers, murderers and cactus thieves (yes, cactus thieves, a phenomenon indigenous to Arizona), all of which leads the duo to a crime ring that nearly costs them their lives.

    Dogs as narrators led me to Google to see how many other fiction books were “written” by canines. Many are for children, but I was startled to discover that authors dating back at least to Virginia Woolf created novels from the dog’s point of view. Subjects range from sci-fi, horror and reincarnation, to historians, biographers and philosophers. Woolf’s cocker spaniel protagonist, Flush, observes the life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, as does Maf the Dog, who divulges secrets only a dog could know about Marilyn Monroe.

    For dog lovers looking for whimsical summer reads, you may discover the world as seen through a dog’s nose and point of view. You’ll be amazed at what your furry friends really think about you and life in general.