cover image Detective Gordon: The First Case

Detective Gordon: The First Case

Ulf Nilsson, trans. from the Swedish by Julia Marshall, illus. by Gitte Spee. Gecko Press USA (Lerner, dist.), $16.99 (96p) ISBN 978-1-927271-49-0

Written in the style of a classic noir, but with plenty of humor and silliness, Nilsson's novel opens with a squirrel running to the police station on a quiet snowy night%E2%80%94one of his caches of nuts has been stolen. As Detective Gordon, a toad, investigates, he catches a hungry baby mouse stealing a single nut and takes her in, names her Buffy, and gives her a job as his assistant. Gordon and Buffy make a formidable odd couple: Gordon prefers to snack on cakes and drink warm milk in his office, while Buffy takes to police work eagerly and helps solve the crime rather ingeniously. Nilsson fills the story with friendly banter and dry wit that call to mind Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad books ("Police work goes on all hours of day and night, but according to the type of cake you know what time it is," Gordon tells Buffy, explaining the finer points of being a police officer), and Spee's softly colored illustrations illuminate the tiny, cozy details of the forest creatures' world. Ages 7%E2%80%93up. (Apr.)