Saturday, August 2, 2014

"Paw and Order"

Spencer Quinn is the author of the Chet and Bernie mystery novels: Dog on It, Thereby Hangs a Tail, To Fetch a Thief, The Dog Who Knew Too Much, A Fistful of Collars, and The Sound and the Furry. He lives on Cape Cod with his dogs Audrey and Pearl. When not keeping them out of mischief, he is hard at work on the next Chet and Bernie mystery.

Quinn applied the Page 69 Test to Paw and Order, the seventh book in the Chet and Bernie series, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Paw and Order begins with Chet in a panic:
I flung myself down the rest of the stairs in one leap, bounded to the front door. Closed and bolted. It had a round knob, and I was getting much better at those, but we’d only just started working on bolts, me and Bernie, and I couldn’t bring back what Bernie had told me – couldn’t bring it back now when I needed to the most! All I could remember was the lovely sound of his voice as he took one of my front paws in his hand – and showed me something or other about bolts.
Those of you who didn’t know probably know now that Chet, the narrator of the series, is a dog. But not a talking dog! That’s the most important thing happening behind the curtains in this series. Chet is not a human in a dog suit. He’s as canine as I can make him (and in that way dogs have, he seems to have taken over my life). Just before the passage above, Bernie has been arrested and taken away, and now Chet finds himself alone with Suzie (Bernie’s girlfriend) in her Washington DC house. The reader knows that Bernie has stumbled into some sort of deadly international plot, but all Chet knows is that he has to somehow get out of the house and find him.

The scene is characteristic of Paw and Order in many ways – action, suspense, the telling details (paws versus round door knobs) – the most important of which is the glimpse we get of the engine that drives this whole series: the love between Chet and Bernie. That’s always a good day, when a writer finds an engine under the story’s hood. Not all novels have them! I’ve been lucky with Chet and Bernie.
Visit Chet the Dog's blog and Facebook page, and Peter Abrahams's website.

The Page 69 Test: Spencer Quinn's The Dog Who Knew Too Much.

Coffee with a Canine: Peter Abrahams and Audrey (September 2011).

Coffee with a Canine: Peter Abrahams and Pearl (August 2012).

--Marshal Zeringue