Child detectives aren’t uncommon, but I think when the future witch was handed Home Sweet Homicide at the tender age of twelve or so, she wasn’t used to reading about them in adult books. This crime novel by Craig Rice was a hand-me -down from the Retired Children’s Librarian (not retired then, of course) who had come for her annual holiday. When I think of this book I can still see how we sat outside our cottage on the side where the sun shone in the evenings, so it makes for a good piece of nostalgia.
I think I was also surprised to find that an adult book could be funny. Who’d expect adults to have a sense of humour? Now I know, because I’m so very witty myself, but at that point it was a nice transition from Blyton to Christie & Co.
The story is about three children with a crime writer mother who is busy writing, and they are left to their own devices. Luckily a neighbour is murdered and they spend their time solving the murder. It’s a lovely piece of Americana from the 1940s.
I’m having to write this from memory, as I have no idea where the book is. Actually I do, and I’m too lazy to shift everything in front of it. But after all these years it’s still quite clear in my mind, which goes to prove how important it was. I went on to read a few more of Craig Rice’s books, but in those days I think it was hard to find all that many, particularly in translation.
I checked it out on Google, but found a long and almost tedious review of the book, where someone had gone to a lot of trouble dissecting both the book and the author, to the extent that he ruined something which I think he had actually liked. That’s why I’m not saying much here at all, except “read it if you can”.