Hey guys, sorry for the long absence. Also, i guess i'm just too ADD to start one series, finish it, and go to the next. So, i'm going to embrace my inner child, and dash off to another series! This one is the McGurk mysteries by E W Hildick. He started the series of books around 1973, and ended around 1996 with about 2 dozen titles. Unlike the New Bobbsey Twins which started off with real crimes and continued to kiddie crimes (stealing cookies, etc), Hildick did the opposite. But even the solving of the kiddie crimes were interesting enough to keep the series always fresh. That and the fact that he only wrote roughly a book a year (*an ETERNITY for a kid) made his newest volume always welcome.
Well, a bit of a character and plot overview. Red-head, 10 year old (at series beginning-over the 23 years of the series, the kids aged about 2 years-meaning that every 10 years in the real world was about a year in the series) McGurk is a natural leader and despite being bossy, an all around good guy. His best friend, Joey Rockaway (the "author" of the series) grew up together. When book 1 "The Nose Knows" opens, Willie Sandowsky moves in to the neighbourhood. Turns out, Willie has an extra sensitive sense of smell, and it is because of this, McGurk decides that he can finally open up a detective business like he always wanted! The trio are joined by Wanda Grieg, a tomboy and tree-climber to round out the organisation.
A few books later, they are joined by Gerald "Brains" Bellingham-a kid scientist who is a genius with gadjets. By the 1980s (about halfway thru the series), Mari Yoshimura, a youngster originally from Japan joins the group. She is a "voice expert". In addition to being able to imitate any voice she hears, she can tell if a person is lying, and usually tell where they are from, and other characteristics about them without even seeing them!
Towards the end of the series, the stories go from realistic to pure fantasy with Brains inventing walkie-talkie time machines that let our heroes go back to the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages. To me this is about when the series "jumped the shark". I mean even though this was the early 90s, and i was already a teenager, i think it's the radical change of plot that threw me rather than just outgrowing the series. And i don't think i was the only one since the series ended soon after (or possibly Mr Hildick was just getting tired-he died that many years later)
Another strange thing is that in the US, the first book "The Nose Knows" was not sold. I don't know why. In fact, i have paperback copies of some of the books in the US editions, and the second book is labelled #1, the third #2 and so on. Interesting!
Another thing which i find funny is that Hildick's characters are young tweens living in typical US suburbia, and yet Mr Hildick is British! Hehe-although to my eye at least, he does a good job of painting American life for youngsters back then (but what do i know-i was in Canada!)
Well, i will probably write my synopsis and thoughts on the first book soon, so please stay tuned!