As the seventh in the Chet and Bernie Mystery Series, PAW AND ORDER begins with the detective duo leaving New Orleans, and deciding to head east, rather than west ("the Valley being where we lived-maybe in Arizona, a detail I'd picked up quite recently") to surprise Bernie's girlfriend Suzie Sanchez, in DC. Suzie had left Arizona a few books ago when she received a job offer as journalist for the Washington Post. Her departure caused some tension in Bernie's life, which Chet, being the sensitive canine he is, picks up loud and clear.
DC offers a whole new range of sights and smells for Chet, and also a strange kind of bird, that doesn't really seem to be organic, but hovers and "stares" at him through the window of Suzie's bedroom. The tension between Suzie and Bernie escalates when Bernie suspects Suzie is having more than a professional relationship with a source: a Brit, who has told her he has a life-changing story to offer her. When the man is shot dead before he can reveal the details, Bernie suddenly becomes enmeshed in a job he'd not banked on (banking being another source of tension for Bernie, according to Chet).
The unraveling mystery, which involves a sleeper cell and espionage, combined with Chet's entertaining non sequiturs, and frequent digressions, make PAW AND ORDER another fun ride-especially since the ride is an old Porsche:
". . . the oldest we've had in our whole career. The last one got blown up; the one before that went off a cliff. And who can remember the one before that? Not me, amigo, except for how loud train whistles turn out to be from up real close. The point is, old Porsches are how we roll at the Little Detective Agency, just one of the things that makes us so successful, leaving out the finances part, where we've run into some hiccups I won't go into now. And don't get me started on hiccups, which is the annoying thing about them, namely that you can't stop...."
Quinn manages to set the stage, stir up the action, and move the fast-paced story along all through Chet's big brown eyes. It's a clever device and amazingly effective. We come to love Chet dearly, fear for his safety, and are not at all offended by his comments concerning our inferiority to dogs: "Humans-and I mean this in the nicest way-can be a little . . . slow sometimes."
You can read any of the books in the series first. Chet politely fills the read in quickly and efficiently. From then on, just enjoy the ride.