Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Yesterday I finished reading a new book - The Boy Detective Fails by Joe Meno. It's the story of Billy Argo, who was a celebrated child detective along with his sister Caroline and their friend Fenton. After Billy grew up and went away to college, though, his sister didn't do so well without him and eventually committed suicide. This sent Billy into a mental institution and his release into a sort of halfway house is really where we pick up the story. He has a hard time coping with the world, though he does become friends with a pair of siblings who live close, Effie and Gus Mumford. The latter doesn't talk, is smart, and is also the terror of the school as a third grader. Effie isn't much liked and someone has killed her rabbit by decapitation. Billy also has to deal with an archvillain living across the hall and always turning up on the bus; buildings disappearing; his job selling fake mustaches, wigs, and beards; a pickpocket he starts falling in love with; and the reason why his sister did what she did. The book is funny and sad and clever, maybe sometimes too much for its own good (though it's in a way I enjoy). It also includes a bonus story in code at the bottom of some pages, as well as a few chances to solve more within the main story. I liked it and I will check out more of Meno's work.

That was book #24 on the year, which still gives me 16 more to go if I still want to make my goal. I have to continue reading 4 books a month in order to reach that goal. I am currently 80 pages or so into the next one and am deciding what to read after that. I have a couple issues of Asimov's and F&SF on the shelves too - if I could finish my books before the month is up, I might have some time to read those. Ah well.

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