Author: Simon Mason
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Meet Garvie Smith. Highest IQ ever recorded at Marsh Academy. Lowest ever grades. What’s the point, anyway? Life sucks. Nothing ever happens.
Until Chloe Dow’s body is pulled from a pond.
DI Singh is already on the case. Ambitious, uptight, methodical – he’s determined to solve the mystery and get promoted. He doesn’t need any ‘assistance’ from notorious slacker, Smith.
Or does he?
I cannot emphasise how much I enjoyed Running Girl and considering it’s length this is a little surprising – me and long books don’t normally get on this well.
I have to admit I do enjoy crime stories where there’s an external … consultant – someone who wants to help but who probably should let the police get on with it. For their own safety more than anything else. I love it in TV – Jonathan Creek (and more recently Castle) and I’ve discovered I love it equally in books.
There’s just something about that relationship between consultant and the police. These external characters always seen to lend something more to the story. They don’t tend to follow the rules and can think creatively around the problem – or can get people to open up to them (or at least open up more quickly).
In Garvie’s case he’s a loveable character – he has a personal connection to the case and wants to help. More so he’s intelligent and he has a photographic memory which is incredibly useful. He’s also cheeky and has an uncanny knack of getting his fellow classmates to trust and open up to him. In short he gets the answers and people tend to do the right thing around him. A kind of useful person for an investigation.
Without him this story would have moved a lot slower (and would have been a lot less fun!)
I can’t not give a nod to Detective Inspector Singh – he was obviously trying to solve the case but having Garvie playing amateur detective can’t have been easy for him. It must have been a stress that he didn’t need. But it can’t be underestimated how much Garvie’s input helped the investigation despite the dangers he put himself in. They played against each other brilliantly!
Told from third person we got a complete picture of how the two of them inspected the case and the effect each of them had on each other and in Garvie’s case his mother (who gets this reviews special mention). It gave a sense of uh oh at some points as certain elements of the case presented themselves.
Of course this is a mystery and what good would a mystery be without a bit of a twist in the tale and we get more than our fair share. Evidence sending us one way – only to discover something didn’t quite fit and when looked closer flipped the plot on its head.
If mystery’s are your thing then I won’t hesitate to point you in the direction of Garvie Smith and Running Girl! ‘A Garvie Smith Mystery’ hints that there is going to be more of these …. I certainly hope so!
Thanks to Random House Children’s Publishers for sending me a copy.