cover image The Homemade Stuffing Caper

The Homemade Stuffing Caper

John Madormo. Philomel, $15.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-399-25543-4

Screenwriter and debut author Madormo’s mystery, first in the Charlie Collier, Snoop for Hire series, has a satisfyingly old-fashioned ambience, despite its contemporary setting. Sixth-graders Charlie Collier, an overweight aspiring sleuth, and his best friend Henry—perpetual competitors when it comes to word puzzles and brain teasers—run a detective agency in the Collier family garage (unbeknownst to Charlie’s parents). Inspired by literary hero Sam Solomon, star of countless detective stories, Charlie relies only on his (and Henry’s) powers of reasoning to solve the mysteries that come their way, refusing to consult the Internet or GPS. When the boys—joined by an attractive female classmate—take on a job that reveals itself as a full-fledged crime, an elderly library volunteer and Charlie’s crazy grandmother turn out to be surprisingly helpful and to have some exciting secrets of their own. Astute readers will pick up the hints and clues that Madormo sprinkles throughout, and everybody will be pulling for good-natured Charlie as he strives to outwit a criminal and save himself and his friends. Ages 9–up. Agent: Chelsea Lindman, the Nicholas Ellison Agency. (June)