Detective Stories

Detective Stories

by Philip Pullman, Nick Hardcastle

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Young mystery fans will be enthralled by this compelling volume of detective fiction that includes both classic and contemporary writers such as Italo Calvino, Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Damon Runyon, and Andrew Vachss.


Young mystery fans will be enthralled by this compelling volume of detective fiction that includes both classic and contemporary writers such as Italo Calvino, Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Damon Runyon, and Andrew Vachss.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Famous fictional detectives are included in this collection of short stories. Sherlock Holmes appears in "The Speckled Band," Poirot in "The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb" and Ellery Queen in "Cold Money." Isaac Asimov writes a mystery with the Cross of Lorraine as a clue (which turns out to be an Exxon station). In "Murder at St. Oswald's," twelve middle school boys plot the murder of their hated teacher. Nigel, the leader, gathers leaves and roots, grinds them into a powder, and sprinkles it into the teacher's porridge. Neither the teacher nor his body can be found. The boys are sick with fear, but all turns out well in the end. In one story a hairdresser captures a thief by dyeing his hair green; in another, some analytical puzzles test the reader's mind. The last selection is a satirical look at the perfect detective story—complete with obvious clues, multiple disguises, a witless assistant, a distressed damsel, and a surprise ending. It is part of the "Story Library" series, each of which include short stories on different themes. 2004 (orig.1998), Kingfisher/Houghton Mifflin Company, Ages 9 to 14.
—Janet L. Rose
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-An unusual and uneven collection of tales from across the past century, though most date to the first half of that period. Authors include masters such as Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie and lesser known or newer writers such as Andrew Vachss and Raymond Smullyan. In addition, Pullman has chosen the work of some authors not normally considered "detective" writers at all-Isaac Asimov, Italo Calvino, Damon Runyon. All of the selections are well written and plotted, and are overwhelmingly selected from authors writing for adults. Herein lies the unevenness. The styles of the various authors and the ages of their characters should pose little problem for young adults who like to read. Why then, one wonders, has Pullman included chapters from Emil and the Detectives, which are both inconclusive as selected and too childish to be enjoyed by most of the seemingly intended audience? One likewise questions the inclusion of "Murder at St. Oswald's," set in a British boys' school among "middle school" students whose behavior seems about on par with American sixth graders. On the other hand, older readers can simply skip these entries and enjoy instead what is likely to be their first exposure to Runyon, Calvino, Vachss, and Dorothy Sayers. The inclusion of one "true story," Tony Fletcher's "Fingerprinting a Ghost," is both a marvelous idea and a marvelous choice.-Coop Renner, Coldwell Elementary-Intermediate School, El Paso, TX

Product Details

Publication date:
Red Hot Reads Series
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.87(h) x 0.74(d)
Age Range:
9 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Philip Pullman is an award-winning writer who has won critical aclaim. His novel, Northern Lights (the first in the His Dark Materials trilogy) was published in the US as an adult novel under the title The Golden Compass. In the UK, Northern Lights won the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children's Fiction Award and the Children's Book of the Year Award, while in the US it was one of four honor children's books at the ABBY awards. Previous novels have included The Ruby in the Smoke, winner of the International Reading Association Award and recommended in the New York Times Parents Guide to the Best Books for Children, and Tiger in the Well, shortlisted for the Guardian Award. A former teacher, Philip Pullman writes in a garden shed at the bottom of his garden near Oxford, England. A passionate advocate of children's literature he has said " . . . stories are vital. There's more wisdom in a story than in volumes of philosophy, and there's a hunger for stories in all of us."

Brief Biography

Oxford, England
Date of Birth:
October 19, 1946
Place of Birth:
Norwich, England
Exeter College, Oxford University

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