Bud Barkin, Private Eye (Tales from the House of Bunnicula Series)

( 3 )

Overview

Dear Reader,
The guy who usually writes these letters asked me to do it instead. Maybe he was having a bad writing day. Maybe he wanted me to play the sap for him. Or maybe he ran into Trouble with a capital T.
Well, Trouble's in my business. I'm a dog. I'm a detective. The name's Bud Barkin. And this book is about the case I had involving a dame named Delilah Gorbish, whom I would call Trouble with a capital T except I've used that metaphor ...

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Bud Barkin, Private Eye

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Overview

Dear Reader,
The guy who usually writes these letters asked me to do it instead. Maybe he was having a bad writing day. Maybe he wanted me to play the sap for him. Or maybe he ran into Trouble with a capital T.
Well, Trouble's in my business. I'm a dog. I'm a detective. The name's Bud Barkin. And this book is about the case I had involving a dame named Delilah Gorbish, whom I would call Trouble with a capital T except I've used that metaphor already, and the clown named Crusty Carmady whose calling card is a teakettle that he heaves through windows. Nice pair of birds. The mystery deepens with another character called the Big Fish, who isn't really a fish and who's addicted to the Home Shopping Network.
Hey, I don't write 'em — I just solve 'em.
Yours truly,
Bud Barkin, P.E.

Howie, the wirehaired dachshund, tries his paw at writing a new kind of novel, a mystery in which he imagines himself as a private investigator and Delilah as the "mysterious dame."

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
In this fifth volume of "Tales From the House of Bunnicula," Howie the dachshund tries his hand at writing a mystery novel. With a little help from his Uncle Harold, Howie manages to put together a classic PI-genre page-turner. The delicious femme fatale enters the office of Bud Barkin, Private Eye, begs him to help her solve her mystery, and both Howie and the reader are off on an adventure. Every chapter or so we get a peek at Howie's writing log which includes his thoughts on the process and the advice he receives from his uncle. Howie runs into a little trouble when he fails to follow his uncle's advice to write a clear outline for the mystery and he stumbles a bit, which only serves to increase the entertainment value for the reader. When advised to add some red herrings to the plot, Howie creates a character he calls The Big Fish. Bud Barkin manages to solve the mystery and wraps up most, if not all the loose ends. A very funny, very punny, very entertaining little book, and an excellent suggestion for reluctant readers. 2003, Atheneum Books for Young Readers,
— Sharon Oliver
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Howie, the irrepressible dachshund, tries his hand-er, paw-at writing detective fiction. He imagines himself as Barkin, a hardboiled shamus with a nose for crime and an eye for the dames. The detective is working late when a beautiful blonde tumbles through the door of his office-"trouble with a capital T." Delilah claims she's being followed, and Barkin suspects Crusty Carmady, an old enemy who's just been sprung from Sing Sing. But, is Delilah on the run from Carmady-or in cahoots with him? The whodunit action alternates with selections from Howie's writing journal in which he ponders the craft of writing and the editorial suggestions of Uncle Harold (the sheepdog "author" of the "Bunnicula" stories). The narration is an affectionate parody of the gumshoe genre, filled with the kind of mock tough-guy similes that would make Mickey Spillane proud. ("She looked me over like I was a used car she was thinking of buying if the price was right.") Howie's journal observations provide an amusing demonstration of the creative process and the challenges of authorship. The last chapter is a bit frantic as Howie attempts to tie up all the plot threads at once-explaining any remaining inconsistencies as "red herrings." While this title has little relationship to the original "Bunnicula" stories, it should appeal to mystery fans who like their crime spiced with chuckles.-Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689869891
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 4/27/2004
  • Series: Tales From the House of Bunnicula Series, #5
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 532,277
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 700L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

James Howe is the author of more than ninety books for young readers, including the modern classic Bunnicula and its highly popular sequels. In 2001, Howe published The Misfits, the story of four outcast seventh-graders who try to end name-calling in their school. The Misfits is now widely read and studied in middle schools throughout the country, and was the inspiration for the national movement known as No Name-Calling Week (NoNameCallingWeek.org), an event observed by thousands of middle and elementary schools annually. There are three companion novels to The Misfits: Totally Joe (2005), Addie on the Inside (2011), and Also Known as Elvis (2014). Howe’s many other books for children from preschool through teens frequently deal with the acceptance of difference and being true to oneself. Visit him online at JamesHowe.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Howie's Writing Journal

Okay, fine. My last book didn't win the Newbony Award. Who cares? My readers liked it, that's all that matters. Now that I've written four books, I get letters from my readers all the time. That is so cool! I got one just the other day from this girl named Krystel, who said I'm her favorite author!

"Dear Howie Monroe," she wrote, "you are my favorite author. I haven't read any of your books, but if I have time someday, maybe I will."

That is so cool!

Then this boy named Jayson wrote, "I like your stories. They sure are funny. The only problem is that there aren't any pigs in your stories. Why don't you write about pigs? Don't you like pigs? Other than not having any pigs, I think your stories are good."

I like pigs. Who said I didn't like pigs?

I tried writing a story about a pig once. It was about a pig that was turned into a monster by a mad scientist. It was called Frankenswine. The problem was, it ended up sounding too much like a book Uncle Harold wrote about our rabbit. Uncle Harold said that was okay, that there are lots of books that are kind of like other books. He mentioned a certain book of mine (see Book #3: Howie Monroe and the Doghouse of Doom), but that was different. I don't know why, but it was. The thing is, I don't want to write the same kinds of stories as Uncle Harold.

Except, I wouldn't mind writing a mystery, even if Uncle Harold has already written some. I mean, lots of authors have written mysteries. Uncle Harold didn't invent them. (At least, I don't think he did. I'll have to ask.)

Uncle Harold says that mysteries are hard to write. He says even though he usually doesn't outline his books first, with mysteries he needs to because mysteries are like puzzles and you have to know where all the pieces fit.

That sounds like way too much work.

I'm going to go take a nap.

Howie's Writing Journal

Outline for mystery story

I. Mysterious thing happens

II. Detective called in to investigate

III. Detective checks it out

IV. Detective solves the case

I don't know what Uncle Harold is talking about. That wasn't hard at all!

Howie's Writing Journal

I let Uncle Harold read my outline. Well, that was a mistake. He said I need more details.

"Like what?" I asked.

"Like the crime," he told me. "With a mystery, always start with the crime and work backward."

Backward? It's hard enough writing forward!

He said I need to figure out who committed the crime and why they did it, and then I need to make other characters seem suspicious so the reader will think one of them did it instead of the real criminal.

He said something about red herrings, which I didn't understand at all. (I know Uncle Harold has food on the brain, but I didn't think he liked fish.)

He suggested I read some mysteries before trying to write one. That's easy enough to do. Mr. Monroe is a big mystery reader. I'll just sneak into his study after everybody's asleep. I'll read all the mysteries I can get my paws on. If I read enough of them, I'll have all the details I need.

Maybe I'll even have an idea!

Bud Barkin, Private Eye

By Howie Monroe

Chapter 1:

"The Mysterious Dame"

I was working late. It was past my bedtime, but I didn't care because twenty out of twenty-four hours is my bedtime. I'm a dog. I'm a detective. The name's Bud Barkin.

The light from the sign outside my window was blinking like a firefly with a bad case of the hiccups. I was used to it. The sign for the Big Slice Pizzeria had been there as long as I had. I'd just finished off a pepperoni and mushroom pizza — dinner alone, as usual — when I heard a knock on my door. My ears popped up like a couple of prairie dogs.

Who would come knocking on my door at this hour? I was hoping it wasn't Crusty Carmady. I'd just read in that evening's Chronicle that Crusty'd been sprung from Sing Sing. It was I that sent him up. His last words to me were, "I'll be gettin' outa here one of these days, Barkin. And when I do, put the water on fer tea 'cause I'll be payin' youse a little visit."

I inched my way across the room to the door. The top half of the door was frosted glass with words painted on it. A shadow fell across BUD BARKIN, PRIVATE EYE.

I held my breath.

"That you, Carmady?" I said.

There was the sound of breathing coming from the other side, but it wasn't Crusty's. I'd recognize his breathing anywhere. It was as raspy as a dull knife scraping across a piece of burnt toast. This breathing was fast and flighty, like a hummingbird with a bad case of the jitters.

I knew right away: The breather was a dame.

I pulled the door open. She toppled into me. One blonde curly ear hid half her face, but I could see right off she was Trouble with a capital T.

"Mr. Barkin," she pleaded, "you gotta help me."

"Do I, sweetheart?" I said. I may have been a private eye who was down on his luck, but I still had a way with words.

The dame was whimpering now. "C-Close the door," she stammered. "I'm being f-followed."

I did like she asked.

"Drink?" I offered, filling the extra water dish I keep handy.

"Don't mind if I do," she said, slurping as noisily as a gang of schoolkids splashing through a puddle at the tail end of a rainy day. I noticed that once she was inside the room, she didn't seem so scared. I smelled a rat and it wasn't pretty. This dame was up to something.

"What's your name, sweetheart?" I asked her.

"Delilah," she told me. "Delilah Gorbish. I just breezed into town. Haven't been here but seven days and I'm in danger. It's enough to make one weak."

I ignored her clever pun, wishing I'd thought of it myself. "What kind of danger you in, angel face?" I asked.

"The kind that leaves you shaking like a bowl of Jell-O on a stormy sea," she said.

"That's the worst kind," I told her.

She opened her purse and took out a box. "A certain party back home asked me to deliver this to a mutual acquaintance, but he was not at the address I was given. I've tried locating him, but I've had no luck. And now I have the distinct impression that I'm being followed. Somebody wants this box."

"Or they want to make sure it doesn't get to the party for whom it was intended," I interjected wisely. "What's inside the box, anyway?"

She shook her head. "I don't know. It's sealed shut, and I was instructed not to open it. I was told...I was told it was safer for me not to know its contents."

"You're in a pickle, all right."

"So you'll help me? Please, Mr. Barkin, say yes. I'm as frightened as a cockroach when the lights snap on and there's no place to hide."

I didn't know what to think. Maybe she

was on the up-and-up. Besides, I needed the dough. The last time I checked under my mattress, the only thing I found was a set of broken-down springs. I'd spent my last dime on a cheap chew bone, and that was two days ago. The pizza I'd had for dinner? Courtesy of the Dumpster in back of the Big Slice.

"It'll cost you," I told her.

"I've got money," she told me back. "Cash money."

"That's the best kind," I said. "Just one thing, sweetheart. If we're going to be working together?"

"Yes?"

"I'll do the similes."

Text copyright © 2003 by James Howe

Illustrations copyright © 2003 by Brett Helquist

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2014

    POSIDEN CABIN

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    Posted April 1, 2013

    Highlight

    Did u call urself bob

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