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Children's LiteratureTim Diamond, the world's most dimwitted private detective, is broke. Although he has applied for numerous jobs (none of which he is qualified for), he has a drawer full of rejection letters and no prospects. Fortunately, Nick, his brainy thirteen-year-old brother is his partner and often his savior. When Mr. McGruffin appears in their shabby office, they are surprised to see he has a gun. Even more shocking, a bullet flies through the window narrowly missing them. Since their telephone service has been cut off, McGruffin goes around the corner to a telephone booth. The murderer is successful in killing him there and Tim alone hears his dying words. He, of course, gets them wrong, but the Diamond Brothers are immediately launched into the middle of an international and deadly mystery. Many attempts are made on their lives as they travel through England and into The Netherlands searching for the elusive Charon, the mastermind behind the plot to kill a Russian diplomat. Varied twists and turns in the active, mostly implausible plot, and a constant stream of subtle jokes and word play, create a humorous fast-paced page-turner. An enjoyable, quick read for all ages. This title is part of the "Diamond Brothers Mysteries" series. 2005, Philomel/Penguin, Ages 10 to 14.
—Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.