#884: Minor Felonies – Poached (2014) by Stuart Gibbs

Expanding on a book by writing a sequel is a tricky proposition; you need to retain what made the first one (hopefully!) good and yet also give something new to make such an expansion worthwhile. Poached (2014), the second entry in Stuart Gibbs’ Funjungle series, thankfully does some very good work in building on the world of first book Belly Up (2010)…and throws in an impossibly-vanished koala for good measure to spice up the intrigue.

Continue reading

#878: Minor Felonies – Kidnap on the California Comet (2020) by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman [ill. Elisa Paganelli]

Following my recent podcast chat with M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman, and the nomination of this very title for an Edgar award, let’s catch up with the Adventures on Trains series. “It’s unlikely we’ll encounter another adventure quite like the last one,” Nathaniel Bradshaw tells his nephew Harrison ‘Hal’ Beck as they take their seats on the California Comet. But we readers, aware that the title of this book is Kidnap on the California Comet (2020), know better…

Continue reading

In GAD We Trust – Episode 28: Writing Mysteries for Younger Readers [w’ M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman]

There is a Golden Age of detective fiction going on at the very moment, but because most of what’s being written is aimed at 8-to-12 year-olds, it gets overlooked by, like, grown-ups. I’m trying to raise awareness of this with my frequent Minor Felonies posts, and it’s partly in pursuit of this aim that I’m delighted to welcome M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman — authors of the excellent Adventures on Trains series — to my nerdy detective fiction podcast, In GAD We Trust.

Continue reading

#863: Minor Felonies – Premeditated Myrtle (2020) by Elizabeth C. Bunce

On page 110 of 355 of Elizabeth C. Bunce’s Premeditated Myrtle (2020) we learn that 12 year-old Myrtle Hardcastle starts reading novels in the middle because “beginnings were often boring”. Thankfully the unproved murder on which the entire book to that point has hung is finally suspected a few pages later and the book comes to life at last, but there’s an uncomfortably meta air to the criticism at the time.

Continue reading

#857: Minor Felonies – The Secret Detectives (2021) by Ella Risbridger

While far from his best work, The Blind Barber (1934) by John Dickson Carr does contain the brilliant problem of a corpse appearing on a passenger liner mid-voyage with no passenger or crew member apparently having died to provide it. Ella Risbridger’s juvenile mystery debut The Secret Detectives (2021) works from the same principle, with 11 year-old Isobel Petty seeing someone thrown overboard one stormy night…and yet the next morning no-one is missing.

Continue reading