Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The World's Greatest Detective ~ Caroline Carlson review [@carolinetc @HarperChildrens]

The World's Greatest Detective
May 16, 2017
368 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

By the end of our time together, someone in this house will be rich. Someone will be the World’s Greatest Detective. And someone, well, someone might be dead.

Detectives’ Row is full of talented investigators, but Toby Montrose isn’t one of them. He’s only an assistant at his uncle’s crime-solving business, and he’s not sure he’s even very good at that. But he sees his chance to prove he could be by entering Hugh Abernathy’s crime-solving contest in his uncle’s place.

Toby’s friend Ivy is the best detective around—or at least she thinks so. But she can’t show off her sleuthing skills and take the title because she’s not allowed to join the investigators’ ranks. Even though the competition is being held at her house.

Then a detective is found murdered before the games begin and his death becomes the World’s Greatest Mystery. And Toby and Ivy may be the only two who can crack the case.

In Caroline Carlson’s newest novel, hilarity and hijinks abound as the greatest detectives around try to solve the greatest mystery they’ve ever come across.

The World's Greatest Detective does a brilliant job having an almost historical, but entirely fictitious setting. It allows us to have the feel of the murder mystery in the big, grand house full of servants and social expectations and dressing for dinner - but without some of the restrictions. We get the atmosphere without being limited in who the characters can be or what they can do.

Science still gets to play a role in the investigation and in the character's methods of detecting, but doesn't feel out of place.

What I loved, maybe most of all, is that the book and when it takes place has that older feel, but that its world isn't quite as male dominated. As Ivy would no doubt remind you, there are still expectations put upon girls but women seem less restricted. There is a female doctor, several female detectives, and a scientist. The author does a great job giving younger readers a historical feel without subjugating the female characters.

I loved Toby as the central character. His past and how that affects how he behaves, his worries and his fears was fantastic. It added a bit of gravity to everything he did and got readers to pull for him eve more. It wasn't just about him looking for entertainment. (It gives him some great motivation, one of the 'Three M's' they try to uncover in the book.)

The mystery was nicely done and did a great job dropping hints, throwing out false leads and making you wonder just how - of even if - it would all be solved.

finished copy received from publisher for review consideration

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