Author: Anthony Horowitz
Original language: English
From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8–Nick Simple’s life is anything but simple. His parents have moved to Australia, leaving him in the care of his incompetent older brother who is trying to make a living as a private detective and changes the family name. They are visited by a dwarf who leaves a package with them for safekeeping and later turns up dead. Set in England and filled with a variety of colorful characters, the plot reads like a 1940s P.I. movie. Like Horowitz’s “Alex Rider” series (Philomel), the teen protagonist relies on his wits to thwart the enemy. Short chapters, with a conflict in each one, will appeal to reluctant readers.
Gr. 4-8. Thirteen-year-old Nick is the younger (and brighter) half of the Diamond Brothers, the world’s worst detective agency. Dwarf Johnny Naples becomes their client, entrusting the two with a mysterious package (a box of Malteser chocolates) just before he is killed, leaving Tim Diamond, literally, holding the gun. With Tim in jail, Nick is forced to solve the case–hopefully before someone murders him, too. Originally published in Britain (where it was also released in film and television versions), this pays homage to the “hard-boiled-detective-with-a-snappy-comeback” genre and to