I should have known it wasn’t the mice.
You would think that, after all this time, I would have worked out that mice aren’t responsible for every bad thing that happens in the world. After all, I am the smartest rat detective in all of Rodent City.
But if I have learnt one thing in all of my many adventures, it is that everyone makes mistakes. Yes, I mean everyone. Even me – Octavius O’Malley. And this mistake would prove to be the biggest one I ever made. It would cost me almost everything.
Octavius O’Malley returns in his third adventure. The detective rat makes one little mistake and he’s out of a job. No longer Chief of Police, he still has a mystery to solve. He sets up his shingle, co-opts an assistant and Octavius ‘Ocko’ O’Malley is in business. Something is not right. Cobblestones are disappearing from the streets, strange smells are wafting about, there’s talk of a new cult, and the maker of Ocko’s favourite doughnuts has gone missing. It’s something to do with cats, and Ocko sets out to get to the bottom of the whole ratty, catty, smelly, cobblestone-y business. Ben Redlich’s wonderfully wild drawings add to the fun.
Ocko tells his own story, in first person with multiple asides. He reassures the reader that he’s in charge, in control and is generally the best and brightest detective in town. The reader knows better and can groan and eyeroll with Ocko’s over-worked and under-acknowledged sidekicks, Spencer and Patrick the Magnificent. These two are mice and only grudgingly accepted as assistants. Ocko is entertainingly flawed, with an infinite capacity for self-congratulation and an endless hunger for triple fudge chocolate-coated strawberry surprise doughnuts. Octavius O’Malley and the Mystery of the Criminal Cats is full of fun and humour and sure to be a hit with 9-12 year olds.
Octavius O’Malley and the Mystery of the Criminal Cats, Alan Sunderland ill Ben Redlich
Harper Collins 2008