"Tracking" the Clues: The Case of the Snack Snatcher (West Meadows Detectives) by Liam O'Donnell
EVERYTHING WAS NEW. NEW SHIRT. NEW SHOES. NEW SCHOOL.
I DON'T LIKE NEW," SAYS MYRON TO HIMSELF.
New teachers and new classmates make Myron's brain itch. And sometimes his itchy brain makes him lose control of everything.
But Myron likes his new Resource teacher, Mr. Harpel. And before the other three students arrive, there is a shrill scream from down the hall.
Mrs. Peterson, the cafeteria manager, has discovered all the morning snacks she laid out on the big steel table are gone! The kitchen floor is littered with scattered flour, broken crackers, and shredded boxes and wrappers.
"WE'VE BEEN ROBBED!" SAID MRS. PETERSON.
Myron is sorry about the theft, but he is happy to have a mystery to solve. Myron is a detective who loves to search for clues. And he also has a very keen sense of smell, and he smells licorice. He follows his nose to a closet and pulls it open. Out pops a very bouncy girl, Hajrah, who has been hiding from the daycare lady to eat her candy. When she hears that Myron is a detective and that he is determined to solve the mystery, she immediately volunteers to help.
"I LOVE MYSTERIES! I'LL BE YOUR DETECTIVE PARTNER!"
"I WORK ALONE." I SAID. MY BRAIN BEGAN TO ITCH.
But Hajrah is a girl who doesn't take no for an answer, and soon she introduces Myron to a another classmate, Danielle, a.k.a. Glitch. Hajrah whispers that Glitch stole things last year and should be their prime suspect. Glitch doesn't help her case by continuing to scowl at Myron, but Myron meets another suspect at lunch, Sarah "Smasher" McGintley, and her two henchmen, Cameron and Carter, who deliver a suspicious warning:
"MYRON MATTHEWS, KID DETECTIVE! KEEP YOUR SNOOPING AWAY FROM ME!"
Myron plans to do some serious snooping for clues at recess, but he finds all the kids gathered around a big tree, fallen during last night's storm. Mr. V., the custodian, is busy cutting the trunk into sections and sadly points out a blue tarpaulin now covering part of the school roof where the tree fell.
"HEY! THAT'S SMOKY'S TREE!" HAJRAH SAID.
And when Hajrah explains that Smoky is the raccoon who lives in that tree, Myron's brain begins to itch. But this time it's a pleasant itch, one that means that he now has some circumstantial evidence to help solve the mystery. And when the thief strikes again, with the help of his new friends Myron finally gets to inspect and detect at an undisturbed crime scene with the tell-tale physical evidence needed to identify the snack snatcher.
Liam O'Donnell's new West Meadows Detectives: The Case of the Snack Snatcher (Owlkids Books, 2015), presents a different third grade detective. Like his idol, Sherlock Holmes, Myron's unusual mind can't stop turning over the facts in the case until he has a solution, and in his classmates he discovers some talents to rival Dr. Watson's. Glitch provides the technical support in the form of a motion-detecting camera, and never-still Hajrah is happy to do the legwork leading to the solution of Myron's first case at West Meadows School. Thanks to artist Aurelie Grand's pen-and-ink illustrations and author O'Donnell's clever foreshadowing, savvy young sleuths may well detect the solution even before Myron's super senses do, in O'Donnell's first book in his new spinoff series about the West Meadows Detectives.
See also Liam O'Donnell's earlier mysteries (in which Myron is an assistant detective), Max Finder Mystery Collected Casebook Volume 1