Twelve-year-old private detective Nelle is swept up in a world of candy smuggling in this humorous middle grade mystery from World Fantasy Award-winner Lavie Tidhar!
★ “It won’t take a detective to spot Willie Wonka, as well as Sam Spade, hidden in the tongue-in-cheek caper’s literary DNA.” ―Booklist, STARRED REVIEW
Nelle Faulkner is a preteen private detective who solves cases from her mother’s garden shed. She also lives in a city where the mayor has prohibited candy and kid-led candy gangs are thriving.
So when notorious candy gangster Eddie de Menthe asks for her help finding a missing teddy bear, Nelle Faulkner is on the case. But when the teddy turns up, Eddie himself goes missing, and Nelle and her friends quickly find themselves swept up in a shady underworld of sweets smugglers, back alley deals, and storefront firebombs.
If Nelle has any hope of tracking down her missing client, she’ll first have to unmask the true faces behind the smuggling ring. Can she and her friends find a way to take the cake? Or will they come to a sticky end?
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets Bugsy Malone in this entertaining, action-packed mystery from World Fantasy Award-winning author Lavie Tidhar. With moody illustrations by Daniel Duncan, readers will be instantly pulled into the fun. eBook available.
★ “Tidhar folds in plenty of noir tropes and contretemps (not to mention a stolen teddy bear for a McGuffin), while in his sparse but atmospheric line and fill drawings, Duncan depicts the young gumshoe properly clad in fedora and trenchcoat. It won’t take a detective to spot Willie Wonka, as well as Sam Spade, hidden in the tongue-in-cheek caper’s literary DNA.” —Booklist, STARRED REVIEW
“Snappy dialogue… Food fights, an abandoned candy factory break-in, and more sweets-themed antics add to the fun and intrigue…. Combining chewing gum and gumshoes, this comical mystery begs to be read aloud.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Noir tropes loom large in Tidhar’s fast-paced story, with a gutsy gumshoe, a hardboiled narrative voice…and enough action to keep young readers on their toes.” —Publishers Weekly
“Nelle is a sturdy, intrepid, practical character surrounded by a colorful cast of candy-obsessed children and adults in this fast-paced mystery.…there’s plenty here to satisfy tween mystery lovers….mystery, humor, plenty of action, and a red herring or two with an explosive climax.” —School Library Journal
AR Level: 4.1
F&P: W, Gr 6, Genre F
Themes: Friendship, Detectives, Mystery, Secrets, Smuggling
BISAC 1: JUV028000 JUVENILE FICTION / Mysteries & Detective Stories
BISAC 2: JUV019000 JUVENILE FICTION / Humorous Stories
BISAC 3: JUV039060 JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Friendship