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Dogged detectives

Bestselling author writes canine mystery series

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POSTED: February 8, 2012 11:45 a.m.
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Author Spencer Quinn writes his bestselling Chet and Bernie mystery series, featuring a private investigator and his dog, with a little help from his own canine companion, Audrey (pictured). Quinn will present the books at the upcoming Savannah Book Festival Feb. 15-18.

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Under the pseudonym Spencer Quinn, bestselling author Peter Abrahams pens the Chet and Bernie mystery series - a unique breed of crime fiction that explores the bond between a man and his best friend.

The series follows down-on-his-luck private investigator Bernie Little and his partner Chet, a quick-witted canine with mismatched ears and no love for cats, as they sniff out clues and solve cases in the desert of an unnamed state.

Chet narrates the books and transports readers to an alternate reality where smell trumps sight, a belly rub solves all the world's problems and human idioms are just plain confusing.

"One of the most important decisions I made about the series is that Chet would not be like a human in a dog suit," said Quinn, who claimed he couldn't have written the character without having dogs of his own. "He's a dog. He doesn't have any human characteristics or abilities, he just has dog ones."

Quinn said that writing from Chet's perspective has changed his life - and not just professionally.

"Chet can suffer and feel pain and have down times, but he gets back to his ‘reset' position very quickly, and that position is one of optimism. He has a sunny outlook on life, and mine isn't necessarily, but it's much more so since Chet's been around."

Quinn's evocative prose, which recalls vintage hardboiled crime fiction, and his interpretation of the world as seen by a dog has earned critical acclaim.

The first book in the series, "Dog on It," made it onto the New York Times bestseller list, and the second, "Thereby Hangs a Tail," followed in its footsteps.

There are currently four Chet and Bernie novels in print, and Quinn said that the fifth, titled "A Fistful of Collars," will be released in September.

"With this series, and I think it's because of Chet's unique voice, I feel like I'm just getting started," he said. "Every time I sit down to write in Chet's voice, I feel energized."

At the Savannah Book Festival, Quinn will speak at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 18 at the tent on Telfair Square in downtown Savannah. Afterward, he will be available to sign copies of his books at the Ex Libris Book Sales tent on W. President Street.

"I'm very much looking forward to being in Savannah," the author said. "I'm excited to be a part of the festival and meet the readers."

Peter Abrahams, aka Spencer Quinn, has published 28 novels, including "The Fan," which was adapted into the 1996 film of the same name starring Robert De Niro. He lives in Cape Cod, Mass., with his family and two dogs, Audrey and Pearl.

 

 

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