The Case of the Silver Skull



by Scott Corbett

Published 1974

In this installment of the Inspector Tearle series, Roger, Shirley, and Thumbs attempt to be proactive about solving a case–by trying to prevent it from occurring in the first place.  unfortunately, the intended victim isn’t really interested in assistance.

I think that I really enjoy these books because, as I have mentioned before, of the small-town feel.  Everyone knows everyone else, and the kids go zipping about from place to place on their bicycles.  This books has the additional fun of an obnoxious flock of starlings and a passionate ornithology club.  These books are just lots of fun, and Paul Frame’s illustrations are fantastic.  4/5.

The Case of the Ticklish Tooth


by Scott Corbett

Published 1971

In this third volume of the Inspector Tearle series, the Inspector begins the book with a cavity.  And, like so many of us, he is not terribly excited about visiting the dentist.

One of the things I especially loved about this book were the descriptions Corbett gives us of the dentist.  The other secondary characters are a lot of fun, too, but I get the feeling that the Inspector’s view on dentists closely reflect those of the writer (indeed, the book is dedicated to a dentist!).  “Old Sarge” also makes an appearance in this book, adding to the small-town flavor that  make these books so much fun.

Paul Frame, incidentally, illustrated these, and I love his line drawings so much.  He illustrated a lot of books in the 1960’s and 70’s; I frequently stumble across then (Trixie Belden and Katie John come to mind).

All in all, this was another fun read about small-town “crime,” enjoyable and lighthearted.  4/5.

The Case of the Fugitive Firebug



by Scott Corbett

Published 1969

The Case of the Fugitive Firebug is actually the second book in a series, but I do not own the first, The Case of the Gone Goose, (and neither does the library).  Still, while there is some continuity between the books of this series, it is rather simple children’s fiction, a step up from Encyclopedia Brown, and it is not too difficult to pick up the story starting here, in the second volume.

Roger Tearle, more commonly known as The Inspector, is a 12-year-old detective, who, with the assistance of his twin sister, Shirley, and best friend, Thumbs, finds himself entangled with mysterious goings-on in the neighborhood.  In this book, Roger becomes the unwilling protector of an accused firebug.  The Inspector doesn’t even like Hazy Milford, but is still convinced of Hazy’s innocence, and determined to find the true culprit of the garage fire Hazy supposedly set.

While the story is not ridiculously dramatic, it is still well-told.  Roger, Shirley, and Thumbs are all fun (if not terribly in-depth) characters, and Roger’s exasperation with Hazy is well-written.  Roger manages to come off as intelligent but not a know-it-all (again, think Encyclopedia Brown).  I love the books from this era, because the children are just that–children–and treat their elders with respect, even when the elders are in the wrong.

Fun read.  4/5.