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Review of Inspector Flytrap

angleberger_inspectorFlytrapInspector Flytrap
by Tom Angleberger; illus. by Cece Bell
Primary    Amulet/Abrams    104 pp.
8/16    978-1-4197-0948-7    $14.95
Paper ed.  978-1-4197-0965-4    $5.95
e-book ed.  978-1-4197-0965-4    $5.95

In three easy-reading mystery stories (plus lunch), Angleberger and Bell introduce a high-concept detective duo. A Venus flytrap, with a goat sidekick, runs the Flytrap Detective Agency, which specializes in “BIG DEAL” mysteries. Inspector Flytrap is tough-talking and cerebral. Nina the goat is deadpan, cynical, and good in a crisis. The clients are an emu, a dodo, and a kiwi, and the cases involve art restoration (and da Vinci’s boogers), some stinky cookies, and a missing rose. In the spirit of why not?, there is also a giant peg-legged pirate. What seems like a trio of unrelated episodes turns out, in a final, completely insane chase scene, to be an extended shaggy-dog story. Generous illustrations spilling across the pages humorously set the mean-streets, noirish scene, complete with beat-up office and Bakelite phone, and Bell manages the challenge of giving a potted plant both personality and verve. The setting and details might seem to wink at adults, but the action is firmly grounded in juvenile, sometimes gross-out humor. Dedication and acknowledgments mention Dav Pilkey and Daniel Pinkwater, and that’s the general territory (although in total effect it’s more Dav than Daniel).

From the September/October 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Sarah Ellis

Sarah Ellis is a Vancouver-based writer and critic, recently retired from the faculty of The Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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