The latest in the Urban Babies Wear Black series demonstrates a wry sense of humor, crisp, sophisticated graphics and a thematic approach that leaves its presumed audience of babies in the cold. In addition to wearing bibs, it appears that foodie babies “know their way around a kitchen,” “browse farmers’ markets” and “dine al fresco.” Dion’s illustrations partake of a Helen Oxenbury–style sense of irony (the baby sharing “small plates” is seen from behind, flinging peas at a startled mother), but the complexity of their rendering puts them far beyond the visual comprehension of an actual baby. More for smug foodie parents than real babies—but we already knew that. (2-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-58246-254-7

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2008

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Two one-dimensional detection cases of the sort that seem to be proliferating. These feature the Bloodhound Gang of TV's 3-2-1 Contact. In The Case of the Cackling Ghost, Professor Bloodhound's three young employees—ages 10, 15, and 16—are summoned to a large country house, where an old woman is bothered by nightly visits from a ghost. The ghost, the trio soon discovers, is really clumps of moths attracted by pheromones—an illusion cooked up by the woman's debt-ridden nephew who hopes to frighten her into turning over her precious, but reputedly curse-ridden necklace. In . . . Princess Tomrorow, the gang is called as witnesses for a shady couple who pretend to predict horse-race results—but the corroborating letter received by the agency has actually been mailed after the race. The one they witnessed being mailed before the race has been invalidated by a wet but deliberately glueless postage stamp. They're both clever tricks, but of a sort that usually come five or ten to a volume. There's no attempt to flesh out the puzzles, and not a trace of the Fleischman wit and vigor.

Pub Date: April 1, 1981

ISBN: 0394946731

Page Count: 63

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1981

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A killer thriller.


Black takes time out from chronicling the neighborhood-themed exploits of half-French detective Aimée Leduc to introduce a heroine as American as apple pie.

Kate Rees never expected to see Paris again, especially not under these circumstances. Born and bred in rural Oregon, she earned a scholarship to the Sorbonne, where she met Dafydd, a handsome Welshman who stole her heart. The start of World War II finds the couple stationed in the Orkney Islands, where Kate impresses Alfred Stepney of the War Department with the rifle skills she developed helping her dad and five brothers protect the family’s cattle. After unimaginable tragedy strikes, Stepney recruits Kate for a mission that will allow her to channel her newly ignited rage against the Germans who’ve just invaded France. She’s parachuted into the countryside, where her fluent French should help her blend in. Landing in a field, she hops a milk train to Paris, where she plans to shoot Adolf Hitler as he stands on the steps of Sacre-Coeur. Instead, she kills his admiral and has to flee through the streets of Paris, struggling to hook up with the rescuers who are supposed to extract her. Meanwhile, Gunter Hoffman, a career policeman in a wartime assignment with the Reichssicherheitsdienst security forces, is charged with finding the assassin who dared attempt to kill the Führer. It’s hard to see how it can end well for both the cop and the cowgirl. The heroine’s flight is too episodic to capitalize on Black’s skill at character development, but she’s great at raising readers’ blood pressure.

A killer thriller.

Pub Date: April 7, 2020


Page Count: 360

Publisher: Soho Crime

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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These latest adventures of the Bloodhound Gang (from public TV's 3-2-1 Contact) have a little more zip than the dismally perfunctory lust two (p. 800, J-186), but there is still little evidence of the Fleischman wit, inventiveness, and high spirits. And of course the idea of three kids investigating for an insurance company is too far-fetched for any nine-year-old's reality meter. But that's the situation in The Case of the Flying Clock, when Vikki, Ricardo, and Zach check out the theft of a snobbish horologist's flying pendulum clock. "Once belonged to Louis," says pompous Mr. Keefe—Louis XVI, that is. But because they know that steam will fog a mirror and salty water makes objects more buoyant, the Gang deduces that Mr. Keefe did not see a red-haired robber, as he claimed, but instead dumped his plastic-wrapped clock in his wishing-well pending future removal. The Case of the Secret Message brings the Bloodhounds up against a purse snatcher, a smuggler called Mr. Big, his bodyguard Muscles, and a little old lady who seems first a victim, then a cohort, and at last reveals herself as a young policewoman. Perhaps the point of the series is that the TV tie-in will lead habitual viewers to print. In any case, these belong with the merchandise mysteries.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1981

ISBN: 0394847652

Page Count: 68

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1981

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