Charlie Collier, Snoop for Hire by John Madormo

Charlie Collier, Snoop for Hire: The Homemade Stuffing Caper. By John Madormo. Philomel Books, 2012. 256 pages. $15.99

Sam Spade, step aside, there a new hard-boiled private investigator in town! Birds are missing. No, not the backyard variety, but exotic birds. Eugene and Grandma, both former World War II spies, assist Charlie and his sidekick, Henry as they find clues, follow leads, and get themselves into and out of dangerous situations. Does justice prevail in the end? You’ll have to read the book to find out. Author John Madormo finds just the right balance of tough guy talk and nervous second-guessing. While the plot drags as the characters get their identities established, once Charlie is on the scent of the trail, the story moves at a fast clip. Although references to the fictional Sam Solomon may leave readers puzzled, in general, the story will be easier for middle grade readers to understand than Bruce Hale’s Chet Gecko series.  Suitable for 4th to 6th grades.

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