Mischief Afoot, by Moya Simons

Current success rate over last week: 75 per cent
One semi-failure (not our fault).
One complete success.
Located Mr Lee’s pet cockatoo, Louie, on gum tree in council park. Had been taught to say, ‘Cocky want a kiss.’ Was very happy. Had finally found a cockatoo that wanted a kiss. Last seen with girlfriend flying to unknown destination. Louie’s pet owner upset. After begging pet shop owner for freebie, we were able to give Mr Lee a guinea pig to cheer him up. It was a real shame that the guinea pig turned out to be a biter.
Recovered lost diamond ring belonging to Mrs Gefunkel. Search of house yielded no results. However, upon cross-examination, client recalled removing ring before taking shower. Ring discovered behind vanity basin, close to drain. Lucky, as it could have fallen down drain and be swirling around the Pacific Ocean now. Mrs Gefunkel thinks we’re the greatest.

Mischief Afoot is the third title in the Walk Right In Detective Agency series. David and Bernice run their agency out of their office – a shed in Bernice’s front yard. After a mostly successful week, business is a bit slow. Fortunately the circus is coming to town and there will at least be some distraction. Bernice seems happy enough to see the circus just as diversion, but David’s detective sensibility suspects there is ‘mischief afoot’. The circus seems an exciting life. David meets Tom, a boy about his age who travels with the circus. Tom acquaints David with some of the mucky reality, but David and most of Milk Bay attend the first performance. David notices something awry in the performance although most of the patrons are distracted by the clowns. He is convinced there is a mystery here that requires investigation.

Mischief Afoot is told in first person, from David’s point of view. The reader only sees Bernice, his partner, through his skewed perspective. Moya Simons allows the reader to see past David’s interpretation to know that this is a much more even partnership than David lets on. Their parents and the local community accept their agency although the police warn them occasionally to ‘leave the real policing’ to them. David’s observations and reportage are interspersed through the text as he channels the energy of other more well known private investigators. Text is well-spaced, offering a manageable length for less-confident readers. David’s observations and Bernice’s droll responses add humour. As with previous titles. although this is a light read in some ways, there is a serious issue presented and investigated. Justice is not just about finding love-lorn cockatoos. Recommended for mid-primary readers.

Mischief Afoot, Moya Simons
Walker Books 2008
ISBN: 9871921150973