Tuesday, May 31, 2011

So You Like Detective Novels?

I remember when I was younger that I went through a big Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew phase.  Remember them?  I don't know if they would take off now though.  In fact, I think there was a Nancy Drew movie a while back that flopped pretty badly.

But that doesn't mean that the children's detective novel has died.  Nope.  It's been revived in the form of The Brixton Brothers and the Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity by Mac Burnett.
I picked this up at my library because it had won Texas' Bluebonnet award (more on that later this week) and I love young adult literature so, why not?  Ah it brought back memories . . . 

In a good way.  The protagonist -- Steve -- is an 11-year old die-hard fan of a detective series similar to The Hardy Boys.  He's read all their books.  And he has their detectives handbook.  Which actually gets him into more trouble since the whole thing is tongue-in-cheek and he just doesn't get it.

Although Steve WANTS to be a detective, he finds out what it's "really" like when he's mistaken for one by both the good guys (librarians who are really an ultra-secret protection agency -- very cool) and the bad guys (a ring of villians led by Mr. E (get it?) who is looking for a top-secret quilt with all of America's secrets stitched on it -- awesome!).

This is your classic kids detective book but as an adult I loved it for 3 reasons:
1.  The librarians.  Who knew that they were even better-trained and deadlier than the CIA?  Their weak spot?  Searching a library for their suspect, they are easily distracted by books that have been mis-shelved!
2.  The quilt.  Just because I love quilts and quilting and I found it truly hilarious that it was the hiding place of all our secrets.
3.  The humor.  Steve takes everything so seriously.  For example, when he's tied up, he flexes his muscles because that's what his detective handbook says to do.  Then the ropes will just fall right off when he relaxes.  Of course he discovers that's not exactly the case . . . and I love when he figures out what a magnifying glass is good for (you'll have to read it).  There is so much irony and sarcasm to this book -- it was great!

Oh yeah, and it's totally clean.
Love that.

I highly highly recommend as a great light, funny read.