Thursday, April 27, 2006

Emil and the Detectives - Erich Kastner

I borrowed Erich Kastner's Emil and the Detectives from the library after it was mentioned by Guus Kuijer in The Book of Everything. When an author is as emphatic about another author's book as Kuijer is, I presume that reading it is relevant to the story in which it is mentioned.

Emil is going to Berlin to visit his grandmother and his maternal aunt. He sets out on the train from the little village where he lives, but on the way he falls asleep and as he sleeps, the money which his hardworking hairdresser mother has given him to give to his grandmother is stolen. Emil considers reporting the matter to the police, but the fact that he recently vandalised a public statue (he chalked a moustache and red nose on it) puts him off. Instead he follows the man off the train into Berlin, then enlists the aid of a boy named Gustav and his gang of friends (the detectives of the title). Together they chase, capture, and unmask the thief, who tries to bluff his way out of the situation. The boys plan well, using their wits effectively to devise a very simple yet practical way to effect the thief's capture. The suspense in this story is well written and the outcome of the thief's capture is very satisfying. Even though this book was published in 1929, it has held up well and is thoroughly enjoyable.

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The lack of reviews this week is the result of a combination of too little time to write intelligible reviews as I've been working on my wizards writing project quite a lot.

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