karen_w_newton (karen_w_newton) wrote,

First person, canine

I am behind in my blogging. I have been lured away from LJ by Facebook and Twitter, and by a wonderful book. Dog On It by Spencer Quinn is spec fic only in the way that The Lovely Bones was spec fic. It is a plausible story told by an implausible narrator. The story in TLB was told by a dead girl from heaven, and DOI is told by a dog named Chet (who now has his own blog). Lest the comparison give you the wrong idea, DOI is a much lighter, funnier read than TLB. Quinn does a wonderful job presenting the detective story/mystery, from a dog's perspective. It's true that Chet is one heck of a lot smarter than any dog I ever met, but on the other hand, he retains an essential dog-ness— he rates people he meets by their smell and is easily distracted by pretty much anything sensory. And Quinn backs off from making him too smart. When a character mentions that he designs e-cards, for example, Chet just thinks “E-cards? What's that?” It's a very clever plot device because Chet can tell us what's happening even when he doesn't understand it himself. Chet and his owner Bernie have a mutual admiration society, and by the time the book was over, I loved them both, even though Chet is a bit of a bigot about cats.

Interestingly, Quinn is actually the pseudonym of novelist Peter Abrahams, who decided to get a fresh start as he changed from mainstream to humorous mysteries, an experience he recounts as “liberating.”

On an unrelated note, everyone should check out Google today because the logo for today is a cool tribute to the 19th century astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli.

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Tags: dogs, mysteries

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