How to Be a Detective: You’re on the Case

By Dan Waddell, Illustrated by Jim Smith

Candlewick Press 19.99 24 pages

“Crime never sleeps, and the forces of good need a champion.”

Dan Waddell is the author of two adult crime novels, and now applies his sleuthing skills to a book for a younger crowd in the newly released How to Be a Detective by Candlewick Press.

The book opens with a letter from the enigmatic Sherlock Holmes himself, welcoming young readers to the field and describing the skills needed to be a truly great detective. Subsequent pages provide investigators-in-training with information on how to analyze a crime scene, dust for fingerprints, interview suspects, scrutinize handwriting, determine if they are being followed, and select a partner in crime. The book comes with lots of extra tools to keep agents busy, such as fingerprinting ink, a poster, and materials for building their own periscope.

The organization was a bit confusing, and lift-the-flaps may be too fragile for some younger readers. But the information was both entertaining and instructive, and the delightful illustrations and layout are sure to keep spies on the case. For kids drawn to the world of cracking codes and solving mysteries, How to Be a Detective is sure to become a book they won’t begin an investigation without!

Reviewed by Marianne Monson

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