South By Southeast
by Anthony Horowitz
Once again, Anthony Horowitz proves his wizardry at writing young-reader spoofs of classic adult genres. Like the other Diamond Brothers mysteries, South by Southeast
features London's most handsome, cowardly, and totally gormless Private Eye, Tim Diamond, as well as his thirteen-year-old crime-solving brother, Nick.
Not only does this story spoof hardboiled mystery novels and Alfred Hitchcock movies, it also gives us an early glimpse of Horowitz's later teen-spy thrillers à la Alex Rider. For even though Nick's nemesis, Scotland Yard Inspector Snape, is involved, the present mystery has more to do with secret agents and international intrigues than the average "whodunit."
For in his last moments of life, a murder victim named McGuffin reveals to the Diamond brothers that a Russian diplomat is in danger of being assassinated. The only clues he leaves as to how this tragedy can be stopped include a ticket to a Dutch ice-skating rink and a cryptic, dying remark that sounds like "south by southeast."
Fans of Hammett, Hitchcock, and their ilk will enjoy the opportunity to catch loads of cleverly placed puns and in-jokes. Fans of mystery and adventure will thrill to the dangers, betrayals, clues, and red herrings that fill this book. Fans of Alex Rider will be intrigued to see what may be an early stage in their hero's evolution. And anybody who likes a bit of fun will be tickled by Tim's hapless, hilarious patter, and Nick's old-for-his-years, hard-bitten bravado.
I believe this is the third book-length mystery featuring the Diamond Brothers, following Public Enemy Number Two and The Falcon's Malteser. There is also a book of Diamond Brothers novellas titled Three of Diamonds. It would be a shame if the series went no further. Do you hear that, Mr. Horowitz? If you ever need a break from writing Alex Rider, your fans would welcome another Diamond Brothers novel.
Recommended Age: 12+
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