The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity (Brixton Brothers Series #1)

The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity (Brixton Brothers Series #1)


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National treasures, criminal masterminds, and...secret agent librarians?

Steve Brixton wants to be a crime-busting detective—just like his favorite crime-busting detectives, the Bailey Brothers. Turns out, though, that real life is nothing like the stories.

When Steve borrows the wrong book from the library, he finds himself involved in a treasonous plot that pits him against helicopter-rappelling librarians, has him outwitting a gaggle of police, and sees him standing off against the mysterious Mr. E. And all his Bailey Brothers know-how isn’t helping at all!

Worst of all, his social studies report is due Monday, and Ms. Gilfeather will not give him an extension!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416978169
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date: 05/04/2010
Series: Brixton Brothers Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 410,809
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile: 590L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Mac Barnett is the author of the Brixton Brother series and several picture books, including Guess Again! and Chloe and the Lion (both illustrated by Adam Rex), and the New York Times bestseller Extra Yarn. He’s on the board of directors of 826LA, a nonprofit writing center, and founded the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, a convenience store for time travelers. Mac lives in Oakland, California.

Adam Rex is the New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich. His other books include The True Meaning of Smekday, which was made into the hit animated movie Home; Moonday; and School’s First Day of School, illustrated by Christian Robinson. He also illustrated the Brixton Brothers series, Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem, Chloe and the Lion, and How This Book Was Made, all by Mac Barnett, and Chu’s Day, by Neil Gaiman. He lives in Tucson, Arizona. Visit him at or follow him on Twitter @MrAdamRex.

Read an Excerpt

The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity

  • STEVE BRIXTON, A.K.A. STEVE, was reading on his too-small bed. He was having trouble getting comfortable, and for a few good reasons. His feet were hanging off the edge. Bedsprings were poking his ribs. His sheets were full of cinnamon-graham-cracker crumbs. But the main reason Steve was uncomfortable was that he was lying on an old copy of the Guinness Book of World Records, which was 959 pages long, and which he had hidden under his mattress.

    If for some reason you were looking under Steve’s mattress and found the Guinness Book of World Records, you’d probably think it was just an ordinary book. That was the point. Open it up and you’d see that Steve had cut an identical rectangle out from the middle of every one of its pages. Then he had pasted the pages together. It had taken over two weeks to finish, and Steve had developed an allergic reaction to the paste, but it was worth it. When Steve was done, the book had a secret compartment. It wasn’t just a book anymore. It was a top secret book-box. And inside that top secret book-box was Steve’s top secret notebook. And that top secret notebook was where Steve recorded all sorts of notes and observations, including, on page one, a list of the Fifty-Nine Greatest Books of All Time.

    First on his list was a shiny red book called The Bailey Brothers’ Detective Handbook, written by MacArthur Bart. The handbook was packed with the Real Crime-Solving Tips and Tricks employed by Shawn and Kevin Bailey, a.k.a. America’s Favorite Teenage Supersleuths, a.k.a. the Bailey Brothers, in their never-ending fight against goons and baddies and criminals and crime. The Bailey Brothers, of course, were the heroes of the best detective stories of all time, the Bailey Brothers Mysteries. And their handbook told you everything they knew: what to look for at a crime scene (shoe prints, tire marks, and fingerprints), the ways to crack a safe (rip jobs, punch jobs, and old man jobs), and where to hide a top secret notebook (in a top secret book-box). Basically, The Bailey Brothers’ Detective Handbook told you how to do all the stuff that the Bailey Brothers were completely ace at.

    The Bailey Brothers, of course, were the sons of world-famous detective Harris Bailey. They helped their dad solve his toughest cases, and they had all sorts of dangerous adventures, and these adventures were the subject of the fifty-eight shiny red volumes that made up the Bailey Brothers Mysteries, also written by MacArthur Bart. Numbers two through fifty-nine on Steve Brixton’s list of the Fifty-Nine Greatest Books of All Time were taken up by the Bailey Brothers Mysteries.

    Steve had already read all the Bailey Brothers books. Most of them he had read twice. A few he’d read three times. His favorite Bailey Brothers mystery was whichever one he was reading at the time. That meant that right now, as Steve lay on his lumpy bed, his favorite book was Bailey Brothers #13: The Mystery of the Hidden Secret. Steve was finishing up chapter seventeen, which at the moment was his favorite chapter, and which ended like this:

    “Jumping jackals!” dark-haired Shawn exclaimed, pointing to the back wall of the dusty old parlor. “Look, Kevin! That bookcase looks newer than the rest!”

    “General George Washington!” his blond older brother cried out. “I think you’re right!” Kevin rubbed his chin and thought. “Hold on just a minute, Shawn. This mansion has been abandoned for years. Nobody lives here. So who would have built a new bookshelf?”

    Shawn and Kevin grinned at each other. “The robbers!” they shouted in unison.

    “Say, I’ll bet this bookshelf covers a secret passageway that leads to their hideout,” Shawn surmised.

    “Which is where we’ll find the suitcase full of stolen loot!” Kevin cried.

    The two sleuths crossed over to the wall and stood in front of the suspicious bookcase. Shawn thought quietly for a few seconds.

    “I know! Let’s try to push the bookcase over,” Shawn suggested.

    “Hey, it can’t be any harder than Coach Biltmore’s tackling practice,” joked athletic Kevin, who lettered in football and many other varsity sports.

    “One, two, three, heave!” shouted Shawn. The boys threw their weight into the bookshelf, lifting with their legs to avoid back injuries. There was a loud crash as the bookshelf detached from the wall and toppled over. The dust cleared and revealed a long, dark hallway!

    “I knew it!” whooped Shawn. “Let’s go!”

    “Not so fast, kids,” said a strange voice. “You won’t be recoverin’ the loot that easy.”

    Shawn and Kevin whirled around to see a shifty-eyed man limping toward them, his scarred face visible in the moonlight through the window.

    The man was holding a knife!

    That was where the chapter ended, and when Carol Brixton, a.k.a. Steve’s mom, called him downstairs to dinner.

    The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity

  • THE BAILEY BROTHERS’ DETECTIVE HANDBOOK tells you how to size up suspicious characters, which is useful if you’re eating dinner with safecrackers, or cat burglars, or your mom’s new boyfriend. Here’s what the handbook says about identifying crooks:

    Hey, sleuths! Shawn and Kevin are always on the lookout for lawbreakers! You should keep your eyes peeled too. There are scoundrels everywhere! Spotting baddies is easy. They all look, dress, and act in a certain way! Take it from the Bailey Brothers: There are really only three types of criminals, and once you’ve got their distinguishing features memorized, you’ll be an unstoppable crime-solving machine!

    TYPE 1: The Tough Greasy hair Scars on face Stubble Tattoos Loud necktie Cheap suit Poorly concealed knife or gun Limp

    TYPE 2: The Ringleader Red hair Shifty eyes Uses gel or pomade Well-trimmed mustache Turtleneck Tall, slender build Mysterious pinkie ring Dressy trousers Limp

    TYPE 3: The Hermit Long white hair Wrinkly Crazy gleam in eye Missing teeth Large beard Uses an anchor as a weapon Torn shorts Limp

    Steve’s mom had a new boyfriend, a.k.a. Rick. Even though he’d never met Rick, Steve already knew he didn’t like him. Rick might just be a dangerous criminal. Steve secretly hoped so.

    When Steve came downstairs, Rick was standing in the kitchen with his hands clasped behind his back. His mom was there too, nervously stirring a pot of spaghetti. Steve strode into the room, looking hard at Rick but trying hard to look like he wasn’t looking.

    “I’m Rick,” said Rick. “You must be Steven.”

    Rick was five feet ten inches tall.

    “Steve,” said Steve.

    Rick had a blond mustache.

    “I’ve heard a lot about you, Steve,” Rick said.

    Rick had no knife scars or prison tattoos. At least no visible ones.

    “Great,” said Steve, who never knew what to say when people told him they’d heard a lot about him.

    It looked like Rick blow-dried his hair.

    Rick didn’t have a limp.

    Rick was dressed in the tan uniform of an Ocean Park police officer.

    And so even Steve had to admit that Rick didn’t fit the description of a hardened criminal. Too bad.

    For a few seconds nobody spoke.

    “Dinner’s ready!” said Steve’s mom, a little too cheerfully.

    Rick was off the hook. For now. There was always Bailey Brothers #24: The Crooked Cop Caper.

    Rick may not have looked like a criminal, but he sure ate like a goon. When he sucked noodles off his fork, he sounded like a vacuum cleaner in need of repair.

    “What do you like to do for fun, Steve?” Rick asked after slurping a seemingly endless noodle into his mouth.

    “I don’t know,” Steve answered. “Stuff.”

    Rick raised his eyebrows.

    “Steve’s a big reader,” Carol Brixton offered helpfully.

    Great. Now Steve was going to have to talk to Rick about books.

    “Oh, yeah?” said Rick. “What do you like reading?”

    “The Bailey Brothers.”

    “Hey,” said Rick, “those books were big when I was a kid. They’re about spies, right?”

    “Detectives.” It took all Steve’s willpower to keep his eyes from rolling. Only a doofus thought the Bailey Brothers were spies.

    “Right. Detectives. The Bailey Brothers were those kids who were always riding around on motorbikes, saying ‘gee whiz’ and ‘golly’ while breaking up smuggling rings.” Rick was smiling in a way Steve didn’t like. “Well, let me tell you from experience, Steve. Real private detectives are nothing like those Bailey Brothers.”

    Steve clenched his teeth. He felt his neck heating up. The Bailey Brothers were real private detectives. This guy didn’t know what he was talking about.

    “Trust me,” said Rick, tapping his badge. “I know what I’m talking about. In the real world, detectives don’t use magnifying glasses. They don’t race around in roadsters. There are no hidden passageways. Nope, private detectives spend most their time alone in their cars, eating french fries and spying on jealous men’s wives.”

    Steve wished he could wallop Rick with a haymaker punch right to the kisser, just like Shawn Bailey would do. He looked at his mom for help. Unbelievable: His mom was smiling at Rick. She actually seemed interested in what this guy was saying.

    “Yep,” said Rick, “real detective work is done by the cops. Take the case I’m working on now, trying to catch this guy they call the Blackbird Robber.”

    “The Blackbird Robber?” said Steve’s mom. “Sounds interesting, doesn’t it, Steve?”

    Steve had to admit it did sound interesting. Still, he wasn’t going to say so.

    “Yep. The Blackbird Robber. A jewel thief. This guy has been terrorizing all the rich old ladies in Ocean Park. Just last week he stole a ring from Mrs. Wertheimer, the woman who owns that mansion on the cliffs. This ring was worth fifty thousand dollars.” Rick whistled. “He took it while she was on a drive up the coast. And nobody can figure out how.” Rick leaned over his elbows and lowered his voice. “The whole place was locked up. Mrs. Wertheimer has the best burglar alarm money can buy. Motion sensors all over the house. Guard dogs so fierce you could catch rabies just from looking at them. I mean, this woman’s got a serious jewel stash, and she’s gone out of her way to make sure it stays safe, you know? But when the old lady got back home that night, the ring was missing from her bedroom. And get this: There were no broken windows, no open doors, and no fingerprints anywhere.”

    “My goodness!” said Steve’s mom. Steve didn’t say anything. But he was listening.

    “Here’s the weird thing,” Rick said. “The thief didn’t take anything else. This ring was sitting out on a dresser next to a bunch of necklaces, bracelets, fancy watches. But he only took the ring. Guess he’s not too greedy.” Rick chuckled.

    Steve rocked back and forth in his chair. He could think better when he was moving.

    “Why do they call him the Blackbird Robber?” Steve asked.

    “That’s the best part. Every place the thief hits, he leaves behind a calling card: a single black feather. This guy’s so confident he’s taunting us.”

    “How exciting!” said Steve’s mom.

    “Very exciting.” Rick grinned. “I’ve been pulling up files on jewel thieves from all over the state, and I’m working some promising leads. See, Steve, that’s what real detective work is all about: hard work and diligence.” Rick emphasized his point by gracefully weaving a forkful of pasta through the air and slurping the noodles horribly. His mouth full of spaghetti, Rick said, “And don’t worry. Rick Elliot always gets his man.”

    Steve looked right at Rick. “I’m not sure your thief is a man.”

    Rick stopped chewing. “A female robber, huh? Look, I’ve always believed women are equal”—Rick looked meaningfully at Carol—“but most jewel thieves are men. That’s just a fact. I mean these guys steal jewelry—they don’t wear it.” Rick laughed at his own joke, and little pieces of spaghetti flew out of his mouth. “But sure, Steve, just for you: Rick Elliot always gets his man or woman.”

    Steve kept his eyes on Rick. “I’m not sure the thief is even a human.”

    Rick almost spit out a meatball.

  • Customer Reviews

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    Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity (Brixton Brothers Series #1) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I love this book. I like the part where steve looked up in his hand book when ever someone is pointing a gun at u 4 word DO WHATEVER HE SAYS:) LOL
    Faith Cosby More than 1 year ago
    One of the best mystery books ever.matt barnet keep them coming
    booksharer More than 1 year ago
    This was a great choice for my 3rd grade grandson...full of adventure and humor, without the frightening sequences or rude humor present in so many of today's books aimed at young boys.
    Rita_Lot More than 1 year ago
    Every now and then, you come across a book that just makes you laugh and this is one of them. This book has it all. Action - fast pace chases, even on a 10 speed. Hokey disguises - that make you stand out instead of blend in. Secrets - society, codes, books, passages ways. This mystery follows the old style gum shoe cases where the detective needs to prove his innocence. Steve’s wit is quick and he is ready to apply all of his detective skills to clear his name. After all, its not ever day you have the police force, henchmen and a secret society gunning it out for you. All this makes it a page turner. Great for ages 8 and up. I’ve read this book with 3rd, 5th and 7th grade book clubs and all my students loved it.
    purplethings on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Steve Brixton wants to be a detective. He has read the whole Bailey Brothers (Think Hardy Boys) mystery series, saved cereal box tops to send away for a detective license, hollowed out a book to create a secret book-box, and he even has the essential tool of any good detective--a magnifying glass. He accidentally finds his first case while at the library researching "early American needlework" for a school assignment. When Steve accidentally pulls out his detective license instead of his library card, the case of the case of mistaken identity begins. Library Secret Agents and the local police believe he is a dangerous criminal working for the bad guy, Mr.E who is trying to steal the Maguffin quilt which contains valuable government secrets dating all the way back to 1776. No matter how hard he tries, Steve can't convince people he is just a kid, not a real detective, so he decides the only way to clear his name is to solve the case. He faces kidnappings, escapes from second story windows, and bookmobile chases in his quest to find the identify of Mr. E and the location of the missing quilt of secrets. This is a great humor/mystery for upper elementary grades. Adults may catch more of the humor references than kids, but the action and Steve's well meaning, but not always successful (yet funny!) attempts at investigating will keep everyone entertained. The description of the Librarian Secret Agents was one of my favorite parts! "Librarians are the most elite, best trained secret force in the United States of America. Probably in the world." I won't look at a bookmobile the same again! The story was more on the humor than realistic side, but that's what made it so much fun. It had a little National Treasure like feel to it. Definitely a fun mystery series that kids will enjoy! It would be a great story to pair with a study of different types of codes used throughout history.
    bigorangemichael on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Part Encylopedia Brown, part Hardy Boys homage and parody, the first installment in the Brixton Brothers mystery series is a lot of fun and one of those books that kids will get a kick out of while older readers smile at the jokes and references.Steve Brixton is an ordinary kid who loves reading the fictional adventures of the Baily Brothers (his favorite is whichever in the 50 plus series he's reading at the time). Steve is assigned a school project to write about the history of quilt making, something he is less than thrilled about. He heads out to his local library to get a book and before he knows it, he's being pursued by a secret society of librarians, the U.S. government, his mom's new boyfriend. "The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity" is a fun book in the vein of the old Encyclopedia Brown mysteries I grew up reading. But the story does have an over-the-top absurdity factor that keeps the smiles coming and will have you racing through to see how it all ends. The asides in which Steve reflects on advice he's taken from the Bailey Brothers mystery series and their detective's handbook are a pure joy and worth the price of admission alone.I only hope the next installment comes soon.
    prkcs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    When twelve-year-old Steve Brixton, a fan of Bailey Brothers detective novels, is mistaken for a real detective, he must elude librarians, police, and the mysterious Mr. E as he seeks a missing quilt containing coded information.
    allawishus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    This was absolutely adorable, hysterical, and awesome. For anyone who inhaled mystery series like Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and Trixie Belden when they were young, this book offers a knowing, but not smug, sendup of the "boy [or girl] detective" genre. I loved that the librarians were supersecret spys, that a teacher was the villain, that the whole thing hinged on a quilt named "the maguffin," lololol. The illustrations are also a fun sendup of the style of art that was in the hardy boys books. My favorite drawing is the one of Steve in his "sailor" disguise entering the bar where all the thugs hang out. Oh my god, I loved this book so much. Thankfully it's a series and the next book just came out. Please let there be many many more titles!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Couldnt stop reading it
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This was one of the best books i have ever read because o Its so full mystery and ys sREAD READ THE BOOK
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    It is a great book for people who love mysteries ps have to read best mystery!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book was good but i would have to say it was bad to. The reason why i say that its bad is because the book is to slow moving and there wasnt that much thrill in it. Other than that this book was a funny book, but this isnt the book that you might wanna read over and over again. From angel. P.s. check out my other reviews (dragon ball z its over 9000, brixton brothers 4 and young samuri the way of the sword)
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    The best book ever
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    You should read this book! AWESOME!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I read this book in a one hour sitting. I absolutly loved it! I have read all 3 I hope that there is more to come
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Its a bit chieesy but good with lots of humor and it can be a bit redicluse with lots of acton but leaves one question that i do not know what do we not know about teatchers????
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