Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Scents and Sensibility: A Chet and Bernie Mystery by Spencer Quinn

Chet and Bernie are back again.  They're home in Arizona and in between cases, but that's OK.  At least it was until a female enforcement agent shows up at his neighbor's house.  It appears that the big saguaro cactus in the neighbor's yard is illegal.  You're not allowed to remove them from the desert.  When the old man next door almost needs medical attention because of his stress over this, Bernie intercedes.  It appears a stolen cactus is a pretty big crime, but he's willing to straighten it out.  He'll be sorry he volunteered.

Atria Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published tody, so you can grab a copy at your local bookstore now.

Bernie likes the cactus enforcement agent, even if she's a bit hard to work with.  He's also impressed with her dog, which looks a lot like Chet.  So when he finds her body in the desert, he's angry.  And even more interested in stolen cacti.  

The cactus the neighbor had in his yard was brought to him by his son.  It seems the son just got of prison and he's borrowed money from his parents for a new venture.  The parents don't have money to spare (had to take a mortgage out on their home) and Bernie is worried about his new venture, so he starts his hunt by looking for Billy.  When he finds him, Billy bolts.  Even when he visits Billy's girlfriend, he gets nothing.  He knows something is going on, but what?

There are a variety of elements here:  An old couple who are going downhill in health, drugs, cactus theft, a ransom, theft of the ransom money and more.  As Bernie tries to put the pieces together, the puzzle just keeps getting bigger.

I didn't like the ending to this story.  It made me sad.  I'll be watching for the next book to see if the author can redeem himself.  Life is full of sadness.  I prefer happy endings.  That said, I hope to see the next book soon and find things much better.

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