The boy detective fails

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In the twilight of a mysterious childhood full of wonder, Billy Argo, boy detective, is brokenhearted to find that his younger sister and crime-solving partner, Caroline, has committed suicide. Ten years later, Billy, age thirty, returns from an extended stay at St. Vitus' Hospital for the Mentally Ill to discover the world full of unimagi-nable strangeness: office buildings vanish without reason, small animals turn up without their heads, and cruel villains ride city buses to complete theirevil schemes. Lost within this unwelcoming place, Billy finds the companionship of two lonely, extraordinary children, Effie and Gus Mumford--one a science fair genius, the other a charming, silent bully. With a nearly forgotten bravery, Billy treads from the unendurable boredom of a telemarketing job, stumbles into the awkward beauty of a desperate pickpocket named Penny Maple, and confronts the nearly impossible solution to the mystery of his sister's death. Along a path laden with hidden clues and codes that dare the reader to help Billy decipher the mysteries he encounters, the boy detective may learn the greatest secret of all: the necessity of the unknown. Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2006 *STARRED REVIEW* "What happens when a Hardy Boy grows up? Mood is everything here, and Meno tunes it like a master, even though such a task initially appears impossible. Billy Argo, resident boy detective of his small New Jersey burg, seems to have inherited the aura of brains, fearlessness and rigid moral compass that always served the likes of Encyclopedia Brown in such good stead. Billy solves crimes and foils villains without breaking a sweat, aided by younger sister Caroline and heavyset friend Fenton. Their successes are trumpeted in newspaper headlines straight out of kids' adventure books ('Boy Detective Solves Fatal Orphanage Arson'), prompting suspicions that what the author has in mind is a long and ironic riff on children's fiction. But the book takes a dark turn as the years pass. Billy continues solving crimes and generally being a prodigy ('College Now For Boy Detective'), but Caroline slips into depression and ultimately commits suicide. Her brother winds up in an asylum as a result, not re-entering the world until he's 30. This is the point at which Meno, a tricky postmodernist who likes to embed separate story capsules on blank pages and leave nonsense words in the margins, might be expected to throw the curtain back, showing that our hero was crazy all along, no crimes were solved and his whole life was a lie. Instead, the author gives Billy a gallery of rogues to combat and even sends him to investigate the Convocation of Evil at a local hotel ('Featured Panel: To Wear a Mask?'). Meno sets himself a complicated task, marooning his straight-arrow, pulp-fiction protagonist in a world uglier than the Bobbsey Twins ever faced but refusing to go for satire. Instead, the author takes his compulsive investigator at face value. A full-tilt collision of wish-fulfillment and unrequited desires that's thrilling, yet almost unbearably sad." BOOKLIST, July 2006 *STARRED REVIEW* Comedic, imaginative, empathic, and romantic, Meno, whose diverse works of fiction include Hairstyles of the Damned (2004) and Bluebirds Used to Croon in the Choir (2005), is particularly attuned to the intensity of childhood and its lifelong resonance. In this cartoony and dreamlike novel, Billy Argo of Gotham, New Jersey, receives a True-Life Junior Detective Kit for his tenth birthday, and in no time, the gifted boy detective becomes front-page news as he thwarts comic-book villains withthe help of his younger sister, Caroline. But Caroline commits suicide,
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ISBN:
9781933354101
9781936070497
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 87713403-3e45-b429-22e1-6ad7ac9521a8
Grouping Title boy detective fails
Grouping Author meno joe
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2018-09-25 22:58:20PM
Last Indexed 2018-09-26 00:02:00AM

Solr Details

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accelerated_reader_point_value 0
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author Meno, Joe.
author_display Meno, Joe
available_at_catalog Main Kids, Main Library
collection_catalog Fiction
detailed_location_catalog Main Library - Adult Fiction
display_description

In this "charming" and melancholic novel, a former child sleuth "investigates the hard-to-crack case of Lost Innocence" (Entertainment Weekly).

A Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and Booklist Book of the Year

In the twilight of a mysterious childhood full of wonder, Billy Argo, boy detective, is brokenhearted to find that his younger sister and crime-solving partner, Caroline, has committed suicide. Ten years later, Billy, age thirty, returns from an extended stay at St. Vitus' Hospital for the Mentally Ill to discover the world full of unimaginable strangeness: office buildings vanish without reason, small animals turn up without their heads, and cruel villains ride city buses to complete their evil schemes.

Lost within this unwelcoming place, Billy befriends two lonely, extraordinary children—one a science fair genius, the other a charming, silent bully. With a nearly forgotten bravery, he experiences the unendurable boredom of a telemarketing job; encounters a beautiful, desperate pickpocket; and confronts the nearly impossible solution to his sister's case. Along a path laden with hidden clues and codes, the boy detective may learn the greatest secret of all: the necessity of the unknown.

"Haunted by the mystery of his sister's death and feeling that a lapse in his sleuthing may be to blame, Billy is determined to find out the reason for her suicide and to punish those responsible . . . The story of Billy's search for truth, love and redemption is surprising and absorbing. Swaddled in melancholy and gentle humor, it builds in power as the clues pile up." —Publishers Weekly

"The author gives Billy a gallery of rogues to combat and even sends him to investigate the Convocation of Evil at a local hotel ('Featured Panel: To Wear a Mask?'). Meno sets himself a complicated task, marooning his straight-arrow, pulp-fiction protagonist in a world uglier than the Bobbsey Twins ever faced but refusing to go for satire. Instead, the author takes his compulsive investigator at face value." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Comedic, imaginative, empathic . . . investigates the precincts of grief [and] our longing to combat chaos with reason." —Booklist, starred review

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id 87713403-3e45-b429-22e1-6ad7ac9521a8
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owning_library_catalog Nashville Public Library
owning_location_catalog Main Kids, Main Library
primary_isbn 9781933354101
publishDate 2006
record_details ils:CARL0000271551|Book|Books||English|Punk Planet Books ;|c2006.|328 p. : ill. ; 19 cm., overdrive:26187f48-10fb-4476-93fa-3ea5b0df7545|eBook|eBook||English|Akashic||
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overdrive:26187f48-10fb-4476-93fa-3ea5b0df7545 -1 Available Online Available Online false true true false false false
subject_facet Brothers and sisters -- Fiction, Mentally ill -- Fiction, Suicide victims -- Fiction
title_display The boy detective fails
title_full The Boy Detective Fails, The boy detective fails / Joe Meno
title_short The boy detective fails
title_sub
topic_facet Brothers and sisters, Fiction, Literature, Mentally ill, Mystery, Suicide victims