The Brain Finds a Leg, by Martin Chatterton

Sheldon sat up. Brilliant! They would solve the Biff Manly case, catch his killer (although personally Sheldon still hadn’t forgiven Biff for that smack on the head) and be the toast of Farrago – hooray! There might even be a reward from Dento.

Sheldon’s life isn’t going too well. His dad is dead after a mysterious boating accident involving humpback whales, and he’s the target of the school bullies. Then a mysterious new boy, called The Brain, arrives at school, which coincides with a string of strange occurrences around the usually dull Farrago Bay. Birds are flying backwards, bats are active in the daytime, and Sheldon sees a horse hunting a bird. But that’s nothing compared to the massive crocodile which thinks it is a dog.

When local surfing hero Biff Manly is found dead, The Brain decides that he is the man (or boy) to solve the case – and he chooses Sheldon to be his sidekick. Sheldon has no idea what a sidekick does, but he’s on a steep learning curve, and soon is involved in sleuthing, hunts and chases, and even a fight for his life, as he works with his new friend to figure out exactly what is going on.

This is a fast-paced, humorous read suitable for upper primary aged readers. The silliness and complete unlikelihood of the events will appeal especially to boy readers, who will love that it is the children who solve the mystery, in spite of the efforts of the stereotypically bumbling local police.

There is lots here to like.

The Brain Finds a Leg

The Brain Finds a Leg, by Martin Chatterton
Little Hare, 2007

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