“…Lyall’s debut is a winner.” —Publishers Weekly
“What’s with the get-up? Is that the company uniform or something?”
“This? All P.I.s wear a trench coat.”
“Dude, that’s a brown bathrobe.”
I shrugged and straightened out my sleeves. “First rule of private investigation, Ivy: work with what you’ve got.”
Twelve-year-old Howard Wallace lives by his list of rules of private investigation. He knows more than anyone how to work with what he’s got: a bathrobe for a trench coat, a makeshift office behind the school equipment shed, and not much else—least of all, friends. So when a hot case of blackmail lands on his desk, he’s ready to take it on himself . . . until the new kid, Ivy Mason, convinces him to take her on as a junior partner. As they banter through stakeouts and narrow down their list of suspects, Howard starts to wonder if having Ivy as a sidekick—and a friend—is such a bad thing after all.
Named a Book Riot middle-grade book for the summer with special recommendation for reluctant readers!
Winner of the Red Cedar Book Award for Fiction!
A middle-school gumshoe takes on a new case and a new partner in this promising first installment of a series that cleverly introduces the world of classic private eyes to young readers. Twelve-year-old Howard Wallace runs his P.I. business, Wallace Investigations, out of an old shed in the back of Grantleyville Middle School, where he solves cases along the lines of missing trumpets and cats, while portraits of his heroes Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe look on. It's not surprising that Howard is a loner: he dresses in a ratty brown bathrobe (his version of a trench coat), and he sounds like he walked off the set of The Maltese Falcon. "What can I do for you, doll face?" he asks one prospective client, who grimaces in response. His latest case is a doozy, replete with blackmail and increasingly menacing threats, and then there's new student Ivy Mason, who's determined to join Wallace Investigations. Engagingly blending the fictional world of dames and private eyes with keen insights about adolescent friendship, Lyall's debut is a winner. Ages 8 12.