Monday, June 24, 2013


Spencer Quinn’s A Fistful of Collars is the kind of book I like to read in waiting rooms.

The TV is blaring, usually your least favorite channel. The intercom is saying things like, “Mrs. Wilby X. Colburne, your car is ready.” And people are yakking into their cell phones or tapping unceasing cell phone texts to so-called friends.

Meanwhile you are reading about Chet and Bernie. Chet, the narrator, is a dog. He spends more time talking about what he doesn’t understand about Bernie’s ways than he does solving mysteries. But, in the end, he always grabs a pants leg or, better yet, a fist at the end of a knife-filled or gun-filled hand. Chet saves the day.

So it is with this book, A Fistful of Collars.

A movie company shoots a high-budget movie in the Valley. The mayor hires Bernie to look after the often out-of-hand and aging male star.

As it turns out, that male star has had previous experience with Valley people.

Someone (or more than one someone) kills several people along the way. Bernie’s girlfriend leaves town to go to work at The Washington Post (which I understand is no longer hiring). Chet keeps talking about how many collars he has (including his dress-up collar which he seldom wears). And the bad guy ends up almost killing Bernie . . . again.

This book is simply and lightly written. You can half-read this book while you have to sit in the car care waiting room and listen to Fox news. And, if you are like me, you will still be able to follow and enjoy Chet and Bernie.

Sometimes, there’s a lot to be said for a book like A Fistful of Collars.

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