Backcountry hiking turns out to be no walk in the park for the indomitable Chet and his human partner Bernie.
Because he’s chronically short of cash, there aren’t too many gigs Bernie Little (To Fetch a Thief, 2010, etc.) won’t take a shot at. But giving the keynote at the Great Western Private Eye Convention turns out to be a bad deal, since the offer is only a pretext for its president, Georgie Malhouf, to make a bid for Chet. No sale, says Bernie. Instead, he takes what looks like a real stinker of a case: pretending to be Anya Vereen’s new guy so that her old guy, Guy Wenders, won’t make a play for reconciliation during Parents Weekend at Big Bear Wilderness Camp. Chet loves this trip; after all, the mountains are filled with wonderful, strange smells. Bernie, not so much, especially after he learns that Anya’s son Devin went missing on his cabin’s overnight. When Bernie takes Chet and wilderness guide Turk Rendell back where the boy was last seen, Chet follows Devin’s scent into an abandoned mine, raising the searchers’ hopes. But then Turk gets killed, and Bernie runs afoul of Big Bear’s so-called law-enforcement community, most of whom share the name Laidlaw. Once Bernie gets arrested for Turk’s murder, Chet is on his own. Chet knows plenty, but how can he share his wisdom with reporter Suzie Sanchez, who’s almost as smart as Bernie, not to mention smelling almost as good and being a really great patter?
Human cunning and canine smarts triumph once again.