Public Enemy Number Two
by Anthony Horowitz
This book is one of the Diamond Brothers Mysteries that came out of the 1980s from the creator of teen spy Alex Rider. Im not sure what order the books go in, since at this writing Ive only gotten two of them; but this book definitely came after The Falcons Malteser
. There are also a couple of other books in the series, including South by Southeast
. In the 1990s there was a made-for-TV movie ("Just Ask for Diamond") and a six-episode teleseries (based on South by Southeast
), both broadcast on the BBC. You draw your own conclusions...then read this book.
Thirteen-year-old Nicholas Simple, also sometimes known as Nick Diamond, lives alone with his older brother Herbert, also known as Tim Diamond. Tim is the worst private investigator in Greater London, if not the world. When it comes to brains, Tim is good-looking. When it comes to courage, ditto. Fortunately, he has Nick, who gave up a chance to move to Australia with their parents in order to live in Tims Fulham flat and eat beans-on-toast every meal. Nick is a magnet for trouble, but hes also a crime-solving genius. And hell need to be.
As this story opens, business at the Tim Diamond Detective Agency is not good. Then, just as Tim is hired to find a priceless stolen vase, Nick gets arrested on trumped-up charges and sent to a special prison for hard-case juvenile offenders. He should have seen it coming. Chief Inspector Snape of Scotland Yard (yes, you read that right), and his neckless, reckless partner Boyle, have been pressuring Nick to help them with a case. Now Nick has no choice, because he is sharing his prison cell with the target of Snape and Boyles investigation.
The name of the target is Johnny Powers: a sociopathic, if not psychotic, teen gangster whose Ma is even worse. After Nick gains Johnnys trust, he is swept along in a daring jailbreak and finds himself and his gormless brother in the crossfire between rival criminal empires. All this to find the mastermind behind all the burglaries and robberies in England, a mysterious underworld figure known as the Fence.
At first, as you get caught up in the adventure, you find yourself leaving nailmarks on everything you touch, because you dont know how a nice kid like Nick could live through all the deathtraps the evil adults set for him. After a while you sort of pity the evil adults who have made an enemy of Nick Diamond. And you come to admire the author who has managed to translate both James Bond and Philip Marlowe into teen heroes.
These are action-packed mystery-adventures full of humor, suspense, and good clean fun. If you have enjoyed Alex Rider, you must get to know the Diamond Brothers!
Recommended Age: 12+
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