CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 36. . . .May 17, 2013
The Further Adventures of Jack Lime.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2013.
157 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
Grades 5-9 / Ages 10-14.
Review by Mary Thomas.
If I had a sign that read Closed for Business, I would've had it stuck on my forehead in flashing neon letters. I was closed for business all right; I was closed big time. My nose was busted and covered in bandages; I had matching shiners and a head full of bad memories. It all had to do with a kid named Richie Renfrew, fifty bucks and a sticky-fingered goon named Malone. Sure, I solved the case, but I also got a knuckle sandwich from Malone and a night in the hospital listening to Old Doc Potter tell me to take a break from the private investigation game. Who am I to argue with a doctor? So, yeah, I was closed for business. All I wanted was a chance to enjoy my slice of pepperoni pizza in peace. That's when KC Stone walked into my life.
"Jack Lime," she said, sitting across from me. "Name's KC Stone. I heard you got that money back for Richard Renfrew, and I'd like to interview you for the newspaper. What d'you say"
Jack Lime, whom readers met in The Adventures of Jack Lime, is back with three related cases that prove -- if more proof is required -- that Iona High is a hotbed of graft, corruption, and general bullying. In other words, it is no place any self-respecting parent would allow a child to attend. However, parents do -- perhaps Principal Snit has a better parent-side manner than he has school-side one -- and it is up to Jack to sort out the problems that the school community manages to create. Which he does, only to find that, in the end, it is he who ... but no! This is not a spoiler review; you're going to have to read the book.
And it is worth reading, in spite of, or perhaps because of, its very retro slang and its root-beer floats. Jack can never resist the call of a maiden in distress even though it so often seems to lead to his getting beaten up, suspended, or put upon in some way or other. It rarely seems to get him either gratitude or the girl, and, as the only payment he exacts for solving these crimes (theft, property damage, extortion) is that of favours which are generally used to investigate other cases, his motivation has to be merely intellectual satisfaction.
So I say: Good for you, Jack! Selfless detection is unusual but refreshing and, at least in this case, tends to be very funny. Read and enjoy.
Mary Thomas lives in Winnipeg, MB, is retired (mostly) from working in school libraries, enjoys a good mystery, and didn't see where this one was headed until it got there.
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