Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Fistful of Collars: A Chet and Bernie Mystery, by Spencer Quinn


Atria Books, ISBN 9781451665164, September 2012

Chet and Bernie are back, with a new case to solve, their ongoing financial difficulties, and a challenge in the form of a wonderful job offer for Bernie's girlfriend Susie, that will take her far away from Chet and Bernie.

Oh, and we also get a revealing new look at both Bernie and his ex-wife, casting fresh light on exactly why Leda took Charlie and left. Bernie's a great guy, but there are reasons Leda sometimes wants to do violence to him.

With another car wrecked, Bernie and Chet are visiting old buddy, former perp, and go-to car guy, looking for a replacement Porsche, when an aide to the Mayor shows up, inviting Bernie to a meeting with the mayor about a new job. It seems a big new movie is going to be shot in the Valley, and the insurance company is requiring that the bad-boy star have a minder. A particular minder--Bernie Little. At a really impressive daily rate, well in excess of what Bernie is normally able to charge.

The bad-boy star turns out to be rather different than expected, and moreover has long-buried ties to the Valley, along with a dangerous secret. Chet puts his doggy nose to the mystery, while Bernie brings along not only his opposable thumbs, but the ability to see a full range of color, and to handle the "so therefores," a critical skill in running a detective agency.

It's a good thing Chet is there, because Bernie is more than a little distracted by the fact that Susie has been offered a job with the Washington Post, a job that will put a continent between them, but which is obviously too good for her to turn down.

When the bad-boy star takes off, and bodies start turning up, things get dicey. When one of the bodies is a reporter friend of Susie's, things get very bad.

This is another great adventure for Chet and Bernie, very enjoyable and with a fair bit of unexpected humor.

Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.