Joe Sherlock Mysteries



By Dave Keane


Published by: HarperCollins (January 30, 2007)

Available in: paperback, library binding, Kindle, NOOK

At the time of this review there were six books in the Joe Sherlock series.



Elementary, my dear Watson.

Joe Sherlock, Kid Detective, Case #000004: The Headless Mummy is part of a winning mystery formula based on a love of legendary super sleuth, Sherlock Holmes. With fun additions like Baskerville Elementary and Baker Street, the inside jokes help carry the story to a very satisfactory ending.

Part of the reason author/illustrator Keane’s young Joe is such an endearing protagonist is his imperfect nature. Although able to use good common sense to solve the puzzle at the core of the book, Joe also has challenges that concern him. Like his difficulty in reading. And his difficulty in understanding big words or expressions. Even though he solves the mystery, Joe is not a know-it-all. Most sweet.

The book is also filled with truly quirky characters and plot points worthy of a good laugh out loud. There’s his sister Doreen, who’s really a disposable glove filled with water… which he sits on and breaks, fearing he’s wet his pants. His (real) sister, Hailey, is a comic delight, and things like a pancake that look like a TV host keep the humor rolling from page to page.

The entire book feels like a young boy’s journal: the typeface is sort of jolly, the illustrations are goofy and original, and the plot moves appropriately sideways just as it moves forward. At times the tone and point of view feel almost adult in tone, but this is not a criticism. It feels distinct and different from other chapter books, which fit the young Joe Sherlock like a good herringbone jacket.

It’s no mystery: Joe Sherlock is one cool chapter book series.

What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….




2 thoughts on “Joe Sherlock Mysteries

  1. My oldest would love this – how on earth have I missed this series up til now? 3rd graders adore mysteries and anything a little creepy – but not too creepy. Thanks, Marty!

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