Howard Wallace, P.I. (Howard Wallace, P.I., #1)
“What’s with the get-up? Is that the company uniform or something?” “This? All P.I.s wear a trench coat.” “Dude, that’s a brown bathrobe.” I shrugged and straightened out my sleeves. “First rule of private investigation, Ivy: work with what you’ve got.”Twelve-year-old Howard Wallace lives by his list of rules of private investigation. He knows more than anyone how to work with what he’s got: a bathrobe for a trench coat, a makeshift office behind the school equipment shed, and not much else—least of all, friends. So when a hot case of blackmail lands on his desk, he’s ready to take it on himself . . . until the new kid, Ivy Mason, convinces him to take her on as a junior partner. As they banter through stakeouts and narrow down their list of suspects, Howard starts to wonder if having Ivy as a sidekick—and a friend—is such a bad thing after all.

Howard Wallace, P.I. (Howard Wallace, P.I., #1) Details

TitleHoward Wallace, P.I. (Howard Wallace, P.I., #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 6th, 2016
PublisherSterling Children's Books
ISBN-139781454919490
Rating
GenreMystery, Childrens, Middle Grade, Fiction, Young Adult

Howard Wallace, P.I. (Howard Wallace, P.I., #1) Review

  • Heidi Heilig
    January 1, 1970
    The first thing I noticed about HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. was the voice.Now, I'm not a detective, but even I spotted the brilliant noir flourishes in this adorable MG debut. One reason I love middle grade so much--and one reasons it's such a challenging thing to write--is that middle grade books have to function on those two Shakespearean levels: something for the balcony and something for the pit. (Kids and adults--or I suppose sometimes vice versa.) HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. is a great example of this.T The first thing I noticed about HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. was the voice.Now, I'm not a detective, but even I spotted the brilliant noir flourishes in this adorable MG debut. One reason I love middle grade so much--and one reasons it's such a challenging thing to write--is that middle grade books have to function on those two Shakespearean levels: something for the balcony and something for the pit. (Kids and adults--or I suppose sometimes vice versa.) HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. is a great example of this.There are mysteries to solve, suspects to shake down, danger and blackmail to avoid. There are bullies and drama (literally a drama club!) and prickly new friendships. (I LOVE IVY!) The story itself is just fantastic. Any kid (or adult) would get sucked in immediately. In addition, there are hilarious details & touches for the most hardened noir fan: The detective's temperamental vehicle. His constant gum habit. The rhythm of the writing itself invokes Bogart's voice, smoky rooms, shadowy alleys.HOWARD WALLACE PI is masterfully written for the noir fan and the kid in their life--truly a book to be enjoyed by kids, parents, and grandparents too.
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  • Dee
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVE these characters. I LOVE the voice in this story. I LOVE that I was totally drawn in, waiting to see what would happen next.The author has woven together a story that both kids and adults will absolutely adore. Howard Wallace is charming, entertaining, and funny, funny, funny! Add in his new (junior) partner, Ivy, and you've got quite the team. Even his bike takes on an important role in this story.From the way the story is told to the quirks and soft spots of each character, it all comes I LOVE these characters. I LOVE the voice in this story. I LOVE that I was totally drawn in, waiting to see what would happen next.The author has woven together a story that both kids and adults will absolutely adore. Howard Wallace is charming, entertaining, and funny, funny, funny! Add in his new (junior) partner, Ivy, and you've got quite the team. Even his bike takes on an important role in this story.From the way the story is told to the quirks and soft spots of each character, it all comes together to make for a great book. This will certainly be a favorite in libraries and homes everywhere. PLEASE tell me there will be more books with these characters!
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  • Monica Tesler
    January 1, 1970
    I was fortunate to read an advance readers' copy of Howard Wallace, P.I. This was a humorous, clever, warm-hearted middle grade story. Howard, the narrator and main character, is funny and smart. His obsession with private investigation is believable and amusing, and he actually makes a pretty good P.I.! There's also a case with clues that drives the plot--something I think middle grade readers would find particularly intriguing. I like the way the middle school social dynamics are woven into th I was fortunate to read an advance readers' copy of Howard Wallace, P.I. This was a humorous, clever, warm-hearted middle grade story. Howard, the narrator and main character, is funny and smart. His obsession with private investigation is believable and amusing, and he actually makes a pretty good P.I.! There's also a case with clues that drives the plot--something I think middle grade readers would find particularly intriguing. I like the way the middle school social dynamics are woven into the background of the story. Also, there's a strong, boy-girl friendship in the book that was particularly endearing. The narration is heavy on the P.I. lingo, which I worried at first would be hard to sustain, but the author really nails the stylized voice throughout to the point that I felt at home inside Howard's head. This was a fun book that I'd gladly hand to middle grade readers, particularly those interested in sleuthing and enjoying smart humor.
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  • Lee Malone
    January 1, 1970
    What a charming and fantastic book! Howard Wallace is an old school gumshoe private investigator — and a middle schooler. And he's got a big case to solve….and a new junior partner to help him do it….This book is such a great, fun read, in no small part because of the wonderful way the author uses the language of old detective movies to tell the story. Plus there is a real, genuine mystery at the heart of it, complete with clues, spying missions, and anonymous threats. But the best part is that What a charming and fantastic book! Howard Wallace is an old school gumshoe private investigator — and a middle schooler. And he's got a big case to solve….and a new junior partner to help him do it….This book is such a great, fun read, in no small part because of the wonderful way the author uses the language of old detective movies to tell the story. Plus there is a real, genuine mystery at the heart of it, complete with clues, spying missions, and anonymous threats. But the best part is that through it all shines Howard, who uses his persona as a PI to hide his frustrations and disappointment with life in middle school. Both the story and the story-telling really work together here, and yet the characters, especially Howard and Ivy, aren't cartoonish or over-simplified. Very enjoyable read.
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  • Abby Cooper
    January 1, 1970
    This was such a fun, creative, hilarious book! Between a mystery full of cool twists and turns, an abundance of extremely clever humor, and characters you want to be your new BFFs, prepare to get totally hooked. Families are going to need to buy multiple copies because it's the kind of book that grown-ups are going to want to "borrow" (aka steal) from their kids. I absolutely loved Howard and sassy sidekick Ivy; their voices completely shine from beginning to end. Highly, highly recommended! Mak This was such a fun, creative, hilarious book! Between a mystery full of cool twists and turns, an abundance of extremely clever humor, and characters you want to be your new BFFs, prepare to get totally hooked. Families are going to need to buy multiple copies because it's the kind of book that grown-ups are going to want to "borrow" (aka steal) from their kids. I absolutely loved Howard and sassy sidekick Ivy; their voices completely shine from beginning to end. Highly, highly recommended! Make sure you pick this one up this fall!
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  • K. Wolf
    January 1, 1970
    THIS. BOOK.Between the voice, the characters, and the ridiculously fun plot, I haven't read a MG this fun and entertaining in a long time! I won't say any more because I don't want to spoil the book for future readers, but you'd be making a huge mistake if you didn't add this to your to-read! Casey Lyall killed her debut, I can't wait to hold a copy in my hands!
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  • Tarun Shanker
    January 1, 1970
    Imagine if Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes decided to have one of his classic extended fantasies as a Humphrey Bogart hard-boiled detective type and you’re halfway to understanding the absolute joy that is Casey Lyall’s Howard Wallace, P.I.From the very first line, Howard’s distinctive voice grabs and throws you into a clever world that blends middle school life and noir tropes. He’s got a brown robe to serve as his trenchcoat, a gum addiction he can’t kick and a dear old bike named Blue that he h Imagine if Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes decided to have one of his classic extended fantasies as a Humphrey Bogart hard-boiled detective type and you’re halfway to understanding the absolute joy that is Casey Lyall’s Howard Wallace, P.I.From the very first line, Howard’s distinctive voice grabs and throws you into a clever world that blends middle school life and noir tropes. He’s got a brown robe to serve as his trenchcoat, a gum addiction he can’t kick and a dear old bike named Blue that he hopes will make it through another day without breaking down. But most of all, he’s got a reputation as the local detective (with his office located in a school equipment shed), which is how he gets entangled in a tricky case of blackmail, theft and treacherous friendships. Like in Pixar movies and Calvin and Hobbes, Howard Wallace P.I. hits two levels of brilliance: genre fans will appreciate the hilarious riffs on detective story beats, while new readers will fall for the infectious charm of Howard’s lifestyle and world. I know I would have immediately set up a detective’s office in my backyard if I read this book when I was a kid.The best part of Howard’s fully-fleshed out world though is the way everyone in his town fits into his routine or disrupts it. There is an adorably antagonistic friendship between Howard and the new kid at school, Ivy Mason, who forces her way into a position as Howard’s junior partner. There is a sweet but complicated relationship with his parents, who struggle between indulging his hobby and putting an end to it to keep him out of trouble. There’s the jock who used to be his best friend. The bullies he encounters every day. The janitor open to bribes. The pawn shop owner informant. The authority figure teachers. The rich family that basically “owns this town.” So many wonderful side characters and it’s a treat to see how Howard navigates each one of these relationships with his distinct perspective that’s a delightful blend of cynicism and sweetness. Simply put, this book will make you smile non-stop. Elaborately put, if there existed glass cases to be broken in the event of a sad day emergency, this book would be inside.
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  • Kali Wallace
    January 1, 1970
    HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. is the hilarious and delightful story of a lonely, well-meaning kid who desperately wants to be the Sam Spade of his middle school--and manages it, more or less, with varying degrees of success ranging from actual success inevitable disaster. I laughed out loud several times, and I was cheering for Howard and Ivy's friend (and detective partnership!) to work out all the way. The mystery is suitably light-hearted, with enough characters of all ages to make guessing at the ans HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. is the hilarious and delightful story of a lonely, well-meaning kid who desperately wants to be the Sam Spade of his middle school--and manages it, more or less, with varying degrees of success ranging from actual success inevitable disaster. I laughed out loud several times, and I was cheering for Howard and Ivy's friend (and detective partnership!) to work out all the way. The mystery is suitably light-hearted, with enough characters of all ages to make guessing at the answers fun. Howard's family is wonderful, and his relationships with other kids at the school are just perfect--both the good and the bad. Also: The noir detective voice and tropes are so playfully and hilariously deployed. And above all, the whole book is just so funny and heartwarming and charming. Reading it made a bad day get so much better.
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  • Jenn Bishop
    January 1, 1970
    If there's something to investigate in his hometown of Grantleyville, kid detective Howard Wallace, P.I., is on it. Who needs friends when you can fill your time scoping out the scene of the crime, interviewing suspects, and tracking down stolen goods in the local pawn shop? But when new girl Ivy (of the cop father) arrives on the scene, practically begging to join Howard, can he really say no?Well, he does. Many times. But that doesn't stop Ivy. If there's one thing Ivy is, it's persistent. (Ok If there's something to investigate in his hometown of Grantleyville, kid detective Howard Wallace, P.I., is on it. Who needs friends when you can fill your time scoping out the scene of the crime, interviewing suspects, and tracking down stolen goods in the local pawn shop? But when new girl Ivy (of the cop father) arrives on the scene, practically begging to join Howard, can he really say no?Well, he does. Many times. But that doesn't stop Ivy. If there's one thing Ivy is, it's persistent. (Okay, and funny and a great detective.) Casey Lyall's debut middle grade whodunit is pure fun, with noir overtones. She displays such a knack for storytelling within this genre and will keep readers young (and old) quickly turning the pages to solve the crime. I *love* Howard Wallace and his sidekick Ivy, and found myself chuckling at both the situations they found themselves in and their banter along the way. A wonderfully fun debut.
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  • Victoria Coe
    January 1, 1970
    I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.Howard Wallace, PI is an absolutely delightful middle grade read from start to finish! The main character, Howard, is sweet, smart, vulnerable, and obsessed with gumshoe detective movies. It is so much fun to watch him in action as he works to solve a big case for a fellow middle school student! With his sidekick Big Blue (his barely ridable bike) and dependable allies (the local pawnbroker & school janitor), he' I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.Howard Wallace, PI is an absolutely delightful middle grade read from start to finish! The main character, Howard, is sweet, smart, vulnerable, and obsessed with gumshoe detective movies. It is so much fun to watch him in action as he works to solve a big case for a fellow middle school student! With his sidekick Big Blue (his barely ridable bike) and dependable allies (the local pawnbroker & school janitor), he's got all he needs - or so he thinks. When new girl Ivy decides to become his junior partner, Howard can't exactly say no. But she proves herself invaluable both on and off the case, in delightfully and heartwarming ways. I had a ball rooting for these two, and I hope, hope, hope to see their adventures continue in future books! Highly recommend!
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  • Wendy MacKnight
    January 1, 1970
    How much do I love Howard Wallace and Ivy? As much as I love Humphrey Bogart, great middle grade fiction, and a story of friendship, that's how much. What a charming jewel f a book this is. The mystery is well done, the characters are three dimensional, and I fell madly in love with Howard, our world weary detective/hero. Kids (and their parents and teachers) are going to love this book. Can't wait for the next case!
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  • Bridget Hodder
    January 1, 1970
    Move over, Encyclopedia Brown! Here comes Howard Wallace! He and his friend Ivy Mason are stepping into your shoes...and taking huge strides in a new direction!This funny, lively Middle Grade caper gives us a cast of characters with real-life problems to deal with, who turn to our twelve-year-old detectives for solutions. And the detectives have plenty of problems themselves!Author Casey Lyall modernizes the genre with true touches, giving backstory and complexity to Howard and Ivy that make the Move over, Encyclopedia Brown! Here comes Howard Wallace! He and his friend Ivy Mason are stepping into your shoes...and taking huge strides in a new direction!This funny, lively Middle Grade caper gives us a cast of characters with real-life problems to deal with, who turn to our twelve-year-old detectives for solutions. And the detectives have plenty of problems themselves!Author Casey Lyall modernizes the genre with true touches, giving backstory and complexity to Howard and Ivy that make them much more than your typical junior gumshoes in youth literature. Schoolyard politics, shifting friendships, parental and sibling interactions, bullies, queen bees, drama kids and harassed teachers--all are present and accounted for, grounding the story in a realistic framework that keeps us moving along at a fast, though credible, pace.And here's the crucial thing: it's a real, honest-to-goodness mystery that gives fair clues, but keeps you guessing along with the detectives, right up to the resolution.HOWARD WALLACE, PI is a real swell pick Sam Spade would be proud of!
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  • Sara Grochowski
    January 1, 1970
    This book was so much fun!! I want more mysteries featuring Howard Wallace, P.I.!!
  • Laura Shovan
    January 1, 1970
    I don't review books, but I do blog about them.It’s been a long time since I’ve read a send-up of detective noir books. You know the kind: slick private eye who’s down on his luck meets questionable dame. She begs for his help and before you know it, he’s up to his fedora in the toughest case of his life.Then guess who sauntered into my life and onto my bookshelf? A pint-sized gumshoe with no friends, a beloved but decrepit pair of wheels, and a bad case of middle school blackmail. Meet HOWARD W I don't review books, but I do blog about them.It’s been a long time since I’ve read a send-up of detective noir books. You know the kind: slick private eye who’s down on his luck meets questionable dame. She begs for his help and before you know it, he’s up to his fedora in the toughest case of his life.Then guess who sauntered into my life and onto my bookshelf? A pint-sized gumshoe with no friends, a beloved but decrepit pair of wheels, and a bad case of middle school blackmail. Meet HOWARD WALLACE, P.I, by Casey Lyall.He may be friendless, trenchcoat-less (an old brown bathrobe has to do), and devoted to a “lady” known only as Blue (that would be his decrepit bike), but Howard knows who he is: the best (and only) detective his middle school’s got. Howard is reluctant to take on a junior partner, but mouthy Ivy Mason won’t take no for an answer. And it turns out, Howard needs Ivy’s help — and her friendship — to crack his latest case.He may be an odd duck — riding a broken down bike in his brown bathrobe, trading rapid-fire Hammett-esque insults with Ivy — but Howard Wallace has a good heart. He is the perfect middle grade anti-hero, someone to laugh at and love, to shake your head at and cheer for.Read the full post here: http://laurashovan.com/2016/09/lauras...
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    Move over Hardy Boys! Step aside Nancy Drew! There's a new detective in town: Howard Wallace and his intrepid sidekick, Ivy Mason! Wow - this book was a delight. Great voice (think hardboiled detective meets middle grade fun) and excellent banter. I loved reading this book and cheering Howard and Ivy as they worked to solve the case. (and the brown bathrobe - ha! Still chuckling about that)The only mystery left unsolved? If there will be more Howard Wallace books. This reader really hopes that t Move over Hardy Boys! Step aside Nancy Drew! There's a new detective in town: Howard Wallace and his intrepid sidekick, Ivy Mason! Wow - this book was a delight. Great voice (think hardboiled detective meets middle grade fun) and excellent banter. I loved reading this book and cheering Howard and Ivy as they worked to solve the case. (and the brown bathrobe - ha! Still chuckling about that)The only mystery left unsolved? If there will be more Howard Wallace books. This reader really hopes that there will be!A perfect mystery for middle grade readers. Teachers and librarians - get this for your young readers! Highly recommended.
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  • Jill Diamond
    January 1, 1970
    This book: SO. MUCH. FUN. It's been said in other reviews, but the voice in Howard Wallace, P.I. is amazing. The author does such a great job blending classic detective with middle grade kid and making it all believable, accessible, and fun to read. There is so much clever and creative language in this book, the story is tight, and the characters are lovable. I can't wait to find out what Howard and Ivy get themselves into next!
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  • Danielle
    January 1, 1970
    Howard's narration is spectacular and spot-on from start to finish. A detective novel for young readers with all the right elements including chewing gum instead of cigarettes and a bike instead of a car. And Howard and Ivy's delightful dialogue crackles with humor. This book is smart and super fun—a great combination!
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  • Everly Frost
    January 1, 1970
    Howard Wallace lives, breathes, and talks private investigation. The P.I. mindset oozes from his every pore. He has a number of tried and tested rules that he follows to solve cases – and solve them he does. But enter the case of the stolen school council checks along with the new girl at school and Howard has his work cut out for him.The idea behind this book is great, and the execution and voice had me hooked the whole way through. It’s sweet and funny and the dynamic between Howard and Ivy is Howard Wallace lives, breathes, and talks private investigation. The P.I. mindset oozes from his every pore. He has a number of tried and tested rules that he follows to solve cases – and solve them he does. But enter the case of the stolen school council checks along with the new girl at school and Howard has his work cut out for him.The idea behind this book is great, and the execution and voice had me hooked the whole way through. It’s sweet and funny and the dynamic between Howard and Ivy is adorable on its surface, and also important at its core. Both characters have not had an easy time of it for one reason or another, but they are both resilient in their own way, forging ahead with determination and loyalty.Beneath the humor, there’s heart and soul and an awkward kid who is trying to find his place in the world. This book balances those themes beautifully in a way that I believe kids will love.I received an advance review copy of this book, but after reading a portion to my 10-year-old son and him ending up in gales of laughter and asking me to read more, we'll be buying our own copy when this releases. This appears to be a standalone, but I'd love to see more of Howard Wallace, P.I..
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  • Claire Fayers
    January 1, 1970
    The Maltese Falcon for middle-graders, this book is an absolute hoot. The author captures the voice of the world-weary, twelve-year-old detective perfectly. But it's far more than a parody of the detective genre. Howard Wallace might model himself on Sam Spade, but underneath he's his own person, defensive and stubborn, afraid of the school bullies yet brave enough to get himself into some terrific scrapes when it comes to detective work. The more I found out about him, the more I liked him. His The Maltese Falcon for middle-graders, this book is an absolute hoot. The author captures the voice of the world-weary, twelve-year-old detective perfectly. But it's far more than a parody of the detective genre. Howard Wallace might model himself on Sam Spade, but underneath he's his own person, defensive and stubborn, afraid of the school bullies yet brave enough to get himself into some terrific scrapes when it comes to detective work. The more I found out about him, the more I liked him. His partner, newcomer Ivy, forms the perfect balance to his personality and the two of them make a great team.An engaging voice, bags of humour, fun characters and a mystery plot full of clues and suspects, this book is a must-read for young detectives everywhere.
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  • Janet McNally
    January 1, 1970
    This book is perfect for mini-detectives. They'll love the voice, like I did, and the fantastic detective details. Great humor, well-drawn adorable characters with believable conflict. Lyall must have read a hundred great old P.I. novels before she wrote this. She really has the lingo and the feel of a good detective story, but she also brings something fresh to the genre (not only moving it to the middle school!). Howard Wallace is totally charming and quirky, and his "junior partner" Ivy is to This book is perfect for mini-detectives. They'll love the voice, like I did, and the fantastic detective details. Great humor, well-drawn adorable characters with believable conflict. Lyall must have read a hundred great old P.I. novels before she wrote this. She really has the lingo and the feel of a good detective story, but she also brings something fresh to the genre (not only moving it to the middle school!). Howard Wallace is totally charming and quirky, and his "junior partner" Ivy is too (good thing he finally let her join him). Great book.
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  • Mike Grosso
    January 1, 1970
    A ridiculously fun mystery book populated with fantastic characters. What's so engaging here is Howard Wallace feels like a real sleuth. He's hilarious at times, but Lyall plays his character so straight and serious that his eccentricities are even more entertaining. This book is going to make a lot of kids start carrying pocket notebooks and noting clues they see in their everyday lives.
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  • Jen (Pop! Goes The Reader)
    January 1, 1970
    Did you find this review helpful? Find more of my reviews at Pop! Goes The Reader!She didn’t knock, just barged through the door like she owned the place. She did own it, but that was beside the point. I knew my rights, and privacy was at the top of the list. Planting herself in the middle of the room, she scowled as her eyes swept across the floor. Dirty cups and rogue pieces of laundry were noted and filed away on her mental list of grievances. With a hand clamped over her nose, she turned to Did you find this review helpful? Find more of my reviews at Pop! Goes The Reader!She didn’t knock, just barged through the door like she owned the place. She did own it, but that was beside the point. I knew my rights, and privacy was at the top of the list. Planting herself in the middle of the room, she scowled as her eyes swept across the floor. Dirty cups and rogue pieces of laundry were noted and filed away on her mental list of grievances. With a hand clamped over her nose, she turned to me. “Howard, how many times do I have to ask you to clean your room?”I told her to scram; a man’s room is his castle.Some mornings I should just keep my mouth shut.Move over, Sam Spade. There’s a new detective in town! Meet twelve-year-old Howard Wallace, middle grade gumshoe and head of Wallace Investigations, the organization trusted with solving all of Grantleyville’s greatest mysteries including cat capers, lovelorn locker looters and missing musical instruments. None of these can prepare Howard for his most challenging case yet, however, when the student council chequebook is stolen and the treasurer is being blackmailed into resigning, lest the pre-signed cheques be used. Along with the help of his trusty, anthropomorphized bike, Big Blue, and the persistent – and often persnickety – new girl and Wallace Investigation’s (temporary) junior detective, Ivy Masen, Howard will have to navigate a labyrinth of clues, suspects, stakeouts, informants and interrogations if he’s going to return the money to its rightful owner and bring the culprit to justice before it’s too late.Ivy sensed she was losing her audience and pulled a piece of paper from her pocket. “I brought my resume.”This should be good. I skimmed through the sheet she handed over. “Your hobbies are reading, spying, and skulking?”“And baking.”“You’ve listed Sherlock Holmes as a reference.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.Stories like Howard Wallace, P.I. are the reason I continue to read middle grade fiction well into adulthood. In her incredibly impressive debut novel, Casey Lyall brings detective fiction to life through the eyes of a thoroughly loveable twelve-year-old boy determined to walk in the footsteps of his hallowed Holmesian heroes. In doing so, the author perfectly captures the language, tropes, and beats of the noir genre while simultaneously crafting a unique story all her own. One needn’t be in possession of their very own magnifying glass and trench coat to deduce that Howard Wallace, P.I. is one of the best middle grade novels published in this or any other year and Lyall one of the most promising new voices writing for this age group today. It’s elementary, my dear Watson.“What’s with the getup? Is that the company uniform or something?”“What getup?”She got a pained look and waved her fingers in the general direction of my lucky coat. I looked down and held out the sides.“This? All P.I.s wear a trench coat.”“Dude, that’s a brown bathrobe.”I shrugged and straightened out my sleeves. “First rule of private investigation, Ivy: Work with what you’ve got.”Smart, enthusiastic, resourceful and determined, Howard Wallace is a character with the attitude of Sam Spade, the instincts of Philip Marlowe, and the tender heart of twelve-year-old boy who is sure to charm readers of all ages. Howard’s intense vulnerability and innocence, coupled with the hard-boiled exterior under which these are carefully hidden, provide a delightful study in contrasts as Lyall delves deeply into the life of her protagonist and his motivations. Rejected and ridiculed by his classmates and misunderstood by many of his well-intentioned but clueless elders, Howard uses his work as a private detective as a safe space into which he’s able to retreat. Despite the various hardships Howard faces, however, his spirits are never down for long as the author uses the character’s dry wit and amusing asides to the audience (“I wondered if Sam Spade got this much grief from his family.”) to underline his resilience and sense of humour, even in the most difficult of situations. Ivy Masen, Howard’s second-in-command and (temporary) junior detective at Wallace Investigations is equally irresistible. Bold, brassy, inquisitive and tenacious, Ivy is fifty percent hair, fifty percent freckles and one hundred percent attitude as she refuses to take ‘no’ for an answer when Howard is reluctant to accept her assistance in his latest case. Readers will quickly learn that there is a great deal more to Ivy than initially meets the eye as the two characters come to see they have more in common than they would have initially imagined possible. Together, Howard and Ivy are able to find a sense of purpose, acceptance and accomplishment they have otherwise lacked, both in their work, as well as in each other.“I warned you once. I don’t like repeating myself. Quit the Reddy case,” she read. “Or else.” She handed it back to me. “Again, very vague.”“Yes,” I agreed. “But it means we’re doing something right.”“Oh, really?”“Yup,” I said. “I’ve never been threatened and vandalized before.” I grinned at Ivy. “I must be getting good.”Effortlessly evoking the likes of The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep, Howard Wallace, P.I. would act as a brilliant introduction to noir fiction for the uninitiated as Lyall masterfully employs the unique language, style, rhythm, and tropes synonymous with this genre. Though the detective’s ever-present trench coat and cigarettes have been re-imagined as a bathrobe and bubble gum, respectively, absolutely nothing is lost in translation as the author delights in playing with genre conventions and re-defining noir fiction for a new generation. Younger readers will have a fantastic time putting the pieces of the puzzle together and solving the case alongside Howard as the novel provides a wonderful opportunity to think critically and actively engage with the text. It isn’t all clues, capers and criminals, however. With universal truths about growing up, fitting in, and standing up for what you believe in, Howard Wallace, P.I. is as valuable for its thoughtful examination of contemporary issues particularly relevant for younger readers as it is for the captivating and engaging mystery it provides.“Detective work is your life. You love it. I love it.” A small worry line creased her forehead. “If we don’t fight for that, when is anything going to be worth fighting for?”I let her words sink in, and the terrifying truth of them hit the center of the black ball of fear in my gut. Nothing had ever fit me as well as being a detective did. I’d been deceiving myself about how easy it would be to let it go. Ivy was right. If you don’t fight when you have everything to lose, what you have isn’t worth keeping.For once, I finally had something worth keeping.I can say with absolute certainty that Howard Wallace, P.I. will continue to live on in my heart and mind for years to come, and I’m so excited that Casey Lyall’s irresistible debut marks what will (hopefully) be the first of many adventures with these thoroughly loveable characters. Clever, creative, charming, and laugh-out-loud hilarious, as a famous detective once rhapsodized, Howard Wallace, P.I. truly is the stuff that dreams are made of.Please Note: All quotations included in this review have been taken from an advance reader copy and therefore might be subject to change.
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  • Parry Rigney
    January 1, 1970
    This was delightful. Had me chuckling the whole way through. Hand to kids looking for a good detective story. I also think it could be good for fans of The Terrible Two.
  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    Some books grab you from page one and the goodness never stops. This is one of those! I was laughing from page one and more than once I had to explain to my husband what was so funny. Howard Wallace is a young Private Investigator with an obsession for all things old school. He wears the trench coat (well, brown bathrobe), can't kick his bad habit (chewing gum), and talks just like the all the cliched detectives from the bygone movie era (Film Noir). And the voice is spot on. So when up-and-comi Some books grab you from page one and the goodness never stops. This is one of those! I was laughing from page one and more than once I had to explain to my husband what was so funny. Howard Wallace is a young Private Investigator with an obsession for all things old school. He wears the trench coat (well, brown bathrobe), can't kick his bad habit (chewing gum), and talks just like the all the cliched detectives from the bygone movie era (Film Noir). And the voice is spot on. So when up-and-coming go-getter Merideth hires Howard to solve a case of blackmail, of course he takes it. Despite the new girl Ivy hanging around all the time, things seem to be going just swell to wrap up the case right on schedule. But nothing ever works out that easy, and Howard finds himself in a heap of trouble.Fun plot and spot-on voice aside, this book is more. This book is about changing friendships and dealing with all the rotten stuff that growing up entails. And about embracing the good things. The things that really matter when all's said in done. I so very highly recommend this book, there aren't enough words to say it. Do yourself a favor and check it out!I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kathy MacMillan
    January 1, 1970
    This book was delight from start to finish! Lyall perfectly balances a compelling mystery, fantastic characters, and a spot-on narrative voice in the form of Howard’s hard-boiled twelve-year-old detective. I knew from the reviews that this book would be funny and that I would fall in love with the characters; what I didn’t expect was how heartfelt it would also be, as it confronts head-on the issue of friendships changing – sometimes painfully – in middle school, and the drastic measures some pe This book was delight from start to finish! Lyall perfectly balances a compelling mystery, fantastic characters, and a spot-on narrative voice in the form of Howard’s hard-boiled twelve-year-old detective. I knew from the reviews that this book would be funny and that I would fall in love with the characters; what I didn’t expect was how heartfelt it would also be, as it confronts head-on the issue of friendships changing – sometimes painfully – in middle school, and the drastic measures some people will take to hold on to the past. I can’t wait to start putting this book into the hands of every kid I meet!
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  • Emily Montjoy
    January 1, 1970
    Howard Wallace is a character many students will be able to relate to while in elementary & middle school. His two closest friends drift away, and he uses his detective work to keep him busy and keep his mind off of the loss of a friendship. A new girl moves into town and quickly partners with Howard. They work together to solve a case, and while that is their focus, they both gain a much needed new friendship. You will laugh while reading this book and cheer for the likable character, Howar Howard Wallace is a character many students will be able to relate to while in elementary & middle school. His two closest friends drift away, and he uses his detective work to keep him busy and keep his mind off of the loss of a friendship. A new girl moves into town and quickly partners with Howard. They work together to solve a case, and while that is their focus, they both gain a much needed new friendship. You will laugh while reading this book and cheer for the likable character, Howard Wallace!
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    Howard Wallace and his sidekick Ivy are fun characters! Love the voice and the mystery is age appropriate. Hope there will be more books featuring this duo.
  • Karina
    January 1, 1970
    I loved everything about this middle grade noir detective book! It was a true pleasure to read about Howard Wallace hoofing it through the town of Grantleyville, solving cases and snapping his gum. Hilarious dialogue, great mystery, and perfect characters.
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  • Lois Sepahban
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky to read an ARC of Howard Wallace, P.I.Reading this book was the most fun I've had with a middle grade novel in such a long time. I cry-laughed more times that I can count. I think Howard will be a hit with bookworms and reluctant readers alike.Huge recommendation.
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  • Kathleen Burkinshaw
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve always been a big fan of film noir! In HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. Casey Lyall seamlessly meshed the older style with a modern middle grade scenario. Bringing in elements of “the trench coat”, his crude office, and Blue -brilliant!The banter between Howard and Ivy are classic as Ivy works her way in to temporary Junior Partner. The situations they get into while investigating can have you on the edge of your seat and then laughing. Throughout this mystery the reader wonders, “Hmm. Can it be this p I’ve always been a big fan of film noir! In HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. Casey Lyall seamlessly meshed the older style with a modern middle grade scenario. Bringing in elements of “the trench coat”, his crude office, and Blue -brilliant!The banter between Howard and Ivy are classic as Ivy works her way in to temporary Junior Partner. The situations they get into while investigating can have you on the edge of your seat and then laughing. Throughout this mystery the reader wonders, “Hmm. Can it be this person? No, maybe this one?” The final answer to the whodunit and how they journey to their reveal was a fantastic ride.Friendship can come from somewhere/whom you least expect it, mostly when you realize you can’t do it on your own. The best is when that realization becomes you don’t want to do it on your own anymore.Lyall is introducing young readers to a contemporary noir and they will love it! Some lines that jumped out at me:“…swinging through the top branches of middle school…I’d been there before and had the splinters to prove it.” “Riding shotgun on the bitter bus.” “It was a funny thing, thinking you had someone pegged only to find out there was a whole different story below the surface.” “The field of gossip in a middle school is a twisting, tangled landscape of truth, lies and all the gray in between.” LOVED this description and so very true! :) “And cold resentment flared in my gut.” “A poorly timed moment of lightning fast reflexes.”“…little bubbles of glee fizzled through her…” “If you don’t fight when you have everything to lose, what you have isn’t worth keeping.” “If you’re really friends with someone, you deal with whatever comes between you.”
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