Public Enemy Number Two (Diamond Brothers Series #2)

Public Enemy Number Two (Diamond Brothers Series #2)

4.4 24
by Anthony Horowitz

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Framed for a jewel robbery, quick-thinking thirteen-year-old NickDiamond finds himself sharing a prison cell with Johnny Powers, juvenile delinquent and Public Enemy Number One. Suddenly, Nick is Public Enemy Number Two! His only chance at breaking out of jail is his older—and much dimmer—brother Tim. He's possibly the world's worst private detective, but…  See more details below


Framed for a jewel robbery, quick-thinking thirteen-year-old NickDiamond finds himself sharing a prison cell with Johnny Powers, juvenile delinquent and Public Enemy Number One. Suddenly, Nick is Public Enemy Number Two! His only chance at breaking out of jail is his older—and much dimmer—brother Tim. He's possibly the world's worst private detective, but Nick has no choice.
Can Nick break out of jail, defeat Ma Powers and her gang, recover a stolen vase from an underwater hideout, and defuse a ticking time-bomb all while keeping his older brother from wrecking everything?
The heat is on in this explosive Diamond Brothers mystery!

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Thirteen-year-old Nick Simple leads a life that is anything but simple. First, he refuses to help a Scotland Yard investigator who wants him to go undercover in order to get information from the fifteen-year-old hardened criminal Johnny Powers, who is also known as Public Enemy Number One. Shortly thereafter, Nick finds himself framed and coincidently, sharing a cell with Johnny. Nick is a likeable and believable character. He cleverly pretends to befriend Johnny and the two of them escape the facility together. They join up with others and enter a dangerous underground world. Nick is brave and intelligent, but a great deal of dumb luck is what helps him to escape Johnny's band of thugs and ultimately to get the information needed to clear himself and crack a major case. The quick pace and fast action in this book make it difficult to put down. This book is the second in a series called "The Diamond Brothers Mysteries." The talented and popular author, Anthony Horowitz, is well known for the "Alex Rider Adventures" series. 2004 (orig. 1997), Philomel Books/Penguin, Ages 10 up.
—Denise Daley
First published in the U.K. in 1986 and subsequently made into a film called variously Diamond's Edge and Just Ask for Diamond, The Falcon's Malteser is the first in Horowitz's long-running Diamond Brothers Mystery series, now being reissued in an Americanized edition. Herbert Simple, who was fired from the London police department for stupidity and who is a coward to boot, is trying to scratch out a living as the world's worst private detective under the rather romantic name of Tim Diamond. Fortunately his thirteen-year-old brother, Nick, the book's narrator, is made of sterner and smarter stuff. When a mysterious dwarf leaves a package in their hands for safekeeping and is then found murdered, the Diamond brothers leap-or perhaps stumble-into action. The package, it turns out, contains a box of malted milk balls, the Maltesers of the title. Several of the most important criminals in London, among them a near-anorexic known as the Fat Man and a pair of hitmen named Gott and Himmell, apparently believe it to be the key to millions of dollars in diamonds. The book features some nice word play, and Horowitz takes great pleasure in parodying the various cliches of film noir and the hardboiled detective novel, although many of these references will be lost on the story's intended audience. On the other hand, more sophisticated teen readers might wonder why British kids in London are paying for things in dollars and cents. In the sequel, Public Enemy Number Two, Nick Diamond is framed for a jewelry heist and finds himself behind bars, sharing his cell with Johnny Powers, public enemy number one. Nick must break out of jail in order to clear his name and catch the guy who set himup, but he has only his incompetent brother to depend on, which means that things do not look good. The Diamond Brothers stories are invariably funny and full of excitement. Mystery readers with a sense of humor will enjoy both tales and look forward to further books in the series. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2004, Philomel, 224p., Ages 11 to 15.
—Michael Levy
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-In this second book in the series, 13-year-old Nick Diamond refuses to be enlisted in Chief Inspector Snape's plan to make him the undercover cellmate of the notorious Johnny Powers in order to worm out the name of the Fence, the 15-year-old's partner in crime. But when Nick is mysteriously caught with a famous jewel in his pocket during a class field trip and he is arrested, tried, and sent to Strangeday Hall for young offenders with great expediency, it becomes clear to him that the Scotland Yard inspector wouldn't take no for an answer. Nick soon finds himself fleeing prison with Johnny and sneaking around London's underground to save himself (and his hapless brother, Tim). Horowitz has a knack for puns and humor, and he successfully combines it with a nonstop action mystery that has everything from hydraulically controlled buses to secret caverns. A readable and exciting adventure.-Lynn Evarts, Sauk Prairie High School, Prairie du Sac, WI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Diamond Brothers Series, #2
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.13(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.50(d)
580L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Anthony Horowitz's life might have been copied from the pages of Charles Dickens or the Brothers Grimm. Born in 1956 in Stanmore, Middlesex, to a family of wealth and status, Anthony was raised by nannies, surrounded by servants and chauffeurs. His father, a wealthy businessman, was, says Mr. Horowitz, "a fixer for Harold Wilson." What that means exactly is unclear — "My father was a very secretive man," he says— so an aura of suspicion and mystery surrounds both the word and the man. As unlikely as it might seem, Anthony's father, threatened with bankruptcy, withdrew all of his money from Swiss bank accounts in Zurich and deposited it in another account under a false name and then promptly died. His mother searched unsuccessfully for years in attempt to find the money, but it was never found. That too shaped Anthony's view of things. Today he says, "I think the only thing to do with money is spend it." His mother, whom he adored, eccentrically gave him a human skull for his 13th birthday. His grandmother, another Dickensian character, was mean-spirited and malevolent, a destructive force in his life. She was, he says, "a truly evil person", his first and worst arch villain. "My sister and I danced on her grave when she died," he now recalls.

A miserably unhappy and overweight child, Anthony had nowhere to turn for solace. "Family meals," he recalls, "had calories running into the thousands…. I was an astoundingly large, round child…." At the age of eight he was sent off to boarding school, a standard practice of the times and class in which he was raised. While being away from home came as an enormous relief, the school itself, Orley Farm, was a grand guignol horror with a headmaster who flogged the boys till they bled. "Once the headmaster told me to stand up in assembly and in front of the whole school said, 'This boy is so stupid he will not be coming to Christmas games tomorrow.' I have never totally recovered." To relieve his misery and that of the other boys, he not unsurprisingly made up tales of astounding revenge and retribution.

So how did an unhappy boy, from a privileged background, metamorphose into the creator of Alex Rider, fourteen-year-old spy for Britain's MI6? Although his childhood permanently damaged him, it also gave him a gift — it provided him with rich source material for his writing career. He found solace in boyhood in the escapism of the James Bond films, he says. He claims that his two sons now watch the James Bond films with the same tremendous enjoyment he did at their age. Bond's glamour translates perfectly to the 14-year-old psyche, the author says. "Bond had his cocktails, the car and the clothes. Kids are just as picky. It's got to be the right Nike trainers (sneakers), the right skateboard. And I genuinely think that 14-year-olds are the coolest people on the planet. It's this wonderful, golden age, just on the cusp of manhood when everything seems possible."

Alex Rider is unwillingly recruited at the age of fourteen to spy for the British secret service, MI6. Forced into situations that most average adults would find terrifying and probably fatal, young Alex rarely loses his cool although at times he doubts his own courage. Using his intelligence and creativity, and aided by non-lethal gadgets dreamed up by MI6's delightfully eccentric, overweight and disheveled Smithers, Alex is able to extricate himself from situations when all seems completely lost. What is perhaps more terrifying than the deeply dangerous missions he finds himself engaged in, is the attitude of his handlers at MI6, who view the boy as nothing more than an expendable asset.

The highly successful Alex Rider novels include Stormbreaker, Point Blank, Skeleton Key, and the recent Eagle Strike.

Anthony Horowitz is perhaps the busiest writer in England. He has been writing since the age of eight, and professionally since the age of twenty. He writes in a comfortable shed in his garden for up to ten hours per day. In addition to the highly successful Alex Rider books, he has also written episodes of several popular TV crime series, including Poirot, Murder in Mind, Midsomer Murders and Murder Most Horrid. He has written a television series Foyle's War, which recently aired in the United States, and he has written the libretto of a Broadway musical adapted from Dr. Seuss's book, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. His film script The Gathering has just finished production. And…oh yes…there are more Alex Rider novels in the works. Anthony has also written the Diamond Brothers series.

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