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Howard Wallace, P.I.

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Twelve-year-old Howard Wallace lives by his list of rules of private investigation. He knows more than anyone how to work with what he’s got: a bathrobe for a trench coat, a makeshift office behind the school equipment shed, and not much else—least of all, friends. So when a hot case of blackmail lands on his desk, he’s ready to take it on himself . . . until the new kid, Ivy Mason, convinces him to take her on as a junior partner. As they banter through stakeouts and narrow down their list of suspects, Howard starts to wonder if having Ivy as a sidekick—and a friend—is such a bad thing after all.

Praise for HOWARd WALLACE, P.I.

“Lyall’s crack at the trending genre of middle-grade noir is an absolute delight, told with clear affection for the usual P.I. story tropes and injecting them with just the right amount of amusement while avoiding sarcastic mockery. Banter between Howard and Ivy is snappy with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it pace, and the humor ranges from subtle wit to LOL comedy. The case brings up some emotional turmoil for Howard, but it’s seamlessly woven into the larger mystery plot, adding depth to the story but never overwhelming it. Pair this with Krieg’s Griff Carver, Hallway Patrol (BCCB 6/10) as a solidly entertaining introduction to hard-boiled detectives.”

—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (STARRED REVIEW)


“A middle-school gumshoe takes on a new case—and a new partner—in this promising first installment of a series that cleverly introduces the world of classic private eyes to young readers...Engagingly blending the fictional world of dames and private eyes with keen insights about adolescent friendship, Lyall’s debut is a winner.”

—Publishers Weekly

“Through the lens of an engaging mystery plot, the theme focuses on how friendship changes as one gets older and how some friendships fall away while others strengthen. Another subplot involves issues of bullying. There is plenty of humor, too, as Howard gets around on a busted old bicycle and wears a bathrobe in place of a traditional detective’s trench coat. VERDICT Strong writing, relatable themes, and a solid mystery combine for a read that both boys and girls will have trouble putting down.”

—School Library Journal



2017 Silver Birch Award from the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading program

2017 Crystal Kite Award from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

2017 John Spray Mystery Award from the Canadian Children's Book Centre


Recipient of a Silver Honor from the 2017 Parents' Choice Awards and the 2017/2018 Red Cedar Fiction Award from the B.C.'s Young Reader's Choice Awards.   

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