Book Review: “Half Moon Investigations” by Eoin Colfer

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Half Moon Investigations
by Eoin Colfer

“Half Moon” is a cruel, schoolyard nickname for a short-for-his-age, twelve-year-old detective named Fletcher Moon. Yes, he really is a detective — sort of. He took an online course, passed an exam, even earned a certificate and an official badge… but he won’’t be old enough to use it legally for another six years. Meanwhile, he tries to keep his skills sharp by solving the petty crimes and minor mysteries that happen in every school. He has even proven helpful to the police on occasion, —as something between a consultant and an informant. But this hasn’’t made Half Moon any more popular with the kids his age.

Suddenly, Fletcher finds himself in the middle of a perplexing mystery. It starts when a pretty girl from the popular crowd offers him real money to find her souvenir lock of a pop singer’’s hair, suspected stolen by one of the kids of a local crime family. A tough kid from the same family tries to intimidate Fletcher into keeping out of their business. But he gets in deeper and deeper, drawn first by curiosity, then by his own flight from the law when someone frames him for a heinous crime. Suddenly Half Moon is on the run, partnered with the unlikeliest ally, and desperate to get to the bottom of an increasingly tangled mystery — —one that could ruin his career as a detective, or even his whole life, just as both are starting to become interesting.

Here, the author of the Artemis Fowl series has started what I hope and expect will be another successful series of funny, exciting, and smart stories, outrageously translating Philip Marlowe into a small English schoolboy. It’’s not as if nothing like it has been done before; after all, you have Anthony Horowitz’’s Diamond Brothers books and even earlier series of boy-detective tales, such as the Hardy Boys and Encyclopedia BrownHalf Moon Investigations is a bit closer to the spirit of the Diamond Brothers, with a playground-savvy take on the hardboiled genre and a willingness to laugh at its own silliness.

New mysteries are always welcome. May the next Half Moon mystery be as much fun as this one!