Monday

My Not-So-Conventional Review of Eoin Colfer’s Half-Moon Investigations

Half Moon Cover I don’t normally do book reviews, but I mentioned school visits this weekend and that made me think of Eoin Colfer. Now I didn’t see him in a school visits per se. Our local large independent, Bookpeople, brings children’s authors in for signings during the week, and local schools use it as a field trip to see authors for free. Colfer was supposed to be pushing his new book, Half-Moon, but mostly he talked about growing up. He didn’t discuss any of his books or writing or being an author. It was actually kind of stand-up for a midgrade audience. It was really strange yet funny and good, just like his new book.

I’m going to say now that this isn’t going to be a traditional review. I don’t plan on having any summaries or spoilers. Well, that’s not true. I do have one spoiler -- Half-Moon Investigations, as you might guess, is a mystery. And this may surprise you, but Half-Moon does end up solving his mystery in the end. I apologize if this ruins the book for you, but it had to be said. Of course, I have never read a mystery book where the mystery wasn’t solved in the end. Although I would be curious to see one, I doubt I would find it satisfying. Unsolved mysteries are somehow anti-climactic to me. It’s why I’ve never liked the TV show by that name.

But I digress. I really liked Half-Moon. This and Shakespeare’s Secret are the two best non-series kid mysteries I’ve read in quite a while. Both are true mysteries with clues and red herrings and everything. Their authors do not cheat to get their protagonists to solve the mystery. Unlike some other children’s supposed mysteries, the kids in Half-Moon actually solve their mystery themselves with only minimal adult intervention. They’re traditional, well-done mysteries. And that’s what I like about them. Really good children’s mysteries are hard to find. I’ve been dying to find a good children’s mystery to publish. Most children’s mysteries are sloppy with the characters relying more on chance than actual reasoning to solve the mystery. I appreciated how Colfer did not take the easy way out for his characters. He makes them work for every clue and every conclusion. When Half Moon solves his case, it’s all the more satisfying knowing he had to do it all himself.

And that concludes my not particularly detailed review. Read the book.

4 comments:

tem2 said...

I've seen Eoin speak a couple times and he does have some great (true) stories to tell. Now I'll have to put his new book on my to read pile. As if I didn't have a long enough list already...thanks a lot, Madeline!

You know I'm writing a mystery of my own now, right?

The Buried Editor said...

Ah, but Greg, the pressing question is: will the mystery get solved in the end? Somehow, it wouldn't surprise me if you were the one person who managed to write an unsolved, yet satisfying mystery. . .

And the other pressing question: will your agent be sending me a copy of the ms when you're done?

Simon Haynes said...

I've done a few school visits and I rarely talk about my books.
Kids are much more interested in anecdotes that prove boring adults who write stuff were once just like them. Or worse ;-)

tem2 said...

I do hope the mystery gets solved, although I'm 8,000 words into the first draft and have no idea whodunnit yet.