I was sure that Simon Cheshire’s Saxby Smart books would be good. If I had been ten years old, which I’m not. But you know, I was reading as bedtime approached and found myself thinking ‘just a few more pages’ and ‘I can go to bed half an hour late, it doesn’t matter’. Those stories were quite more-ish. And humorous.
At first I thought that the idea of having three cases for each book (which means they are fairly short), as well as expecting the reader to pick up on clues and help solve the crime, was not really me. But I did warm to this crime solving business, after a while. I know the clues were really obvious. If they hadn’t been I wouldn’t have had a clue.
Saxby is a bit like Eoin Colfer’s Half Moon, a precocious and nerdy detective who clearly doesn’t have a life outside crime solving. Saxby has been compared to Sherlock Holmes, but I feel he’s more of a young and innocent hardboiled PI. If that’s possible.
He claims not to have a sidekick, but that’s wrong. There are two regular helpers; a female with brains and a male with breakfast down his school jumper. This PI might have to make do with a cold garden shed for his HQ, and he has to share it with the garden tools, but he has a steady line of customers and an excellent success rate of solved cases.
Six of which I’ve read about in books 7, The Poisoned Arrow and 8, Secret of the Skull and I now know about amateur dramatics, Saxby’s teacher, as well as the state of Vojvladimia and MI5. That last one might have been on the far fetched side, but…
So, I know I normally blog about children’s books that adults will enjoy. And maybe Saxby Smart is more for child readers, but he does grow on you. He’s rather sweet. He’s aware of how odd he can seem (‘Something in her expression said “Yes, you’re every bit as odd as I expected”.’) which is endearing. And as he solves his crimes he dishes out a lot of common sense.
Excellent for young readers, and not bad at all for old people.