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Children's LiteratureFamous 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