The Free Range Detective Agency: Murder Most Fowl | Jed Lynch and Stephen Stone

“My name is Seamus the Turkey, and I’m a shamus. A shamus is just another word for a private detective.”

— Jed Lynch, Murder Most Fowl

Did you know what a shamus is? I didn’t before diving into Murder Most Fowl, a hilarious detective book whose protagonist is… a turkey!

But Seamus is not your average turkey: he is ready to risk his life to solve the mysteries that poison his clients’ lives. When he has clients. Which is not often. Which is why he accepts to work for Ms Ermine, a cat wearing a fur coat (!) even though he knows it might not be his best idea…

Full of twists and turns, this adventure features numerous well fleshed-out characters that made me smile and laugh while I was trying to find out who was responsible for the murders Seamus is confronted to. From the mole to the pigs including a meerkat and a snake, among others, every single character contributes to leading Seamus up the garden path, deliberately or not.

Mysterious without being gruesome, intelligent without being too complicated and compelling without being stressful, Murder Most Fowl is a perfect read for middle-grade children looking for a fun ride! Moreover, the all-animal cast really helps relieve some of the tension that could build up while Seamus is getting in trouble, so that our little ones don’t get scared.

Without meaning to, Seamus is living proof that anyone can be a hero when gathering courage and overcoming fears… All in a self-deprecating tone that might not be the best example of self-love and self-confidence, but that will probably get children laughing.

The icing on the cake: Stephen Stone’s illustrations perfectly complement Jed Lynch’s story and give it a cartoonish kick that creates a special, immersive atmosphere.

There is very little to criticise about this book as long as it is taken for what it is: a fast-paced, enjoyable chapter book for young readers. I don’t want to say more for fear of revealing too much, but Murder Most Fowl is both light and more interesting than it might seem at first glance, for it also deals with timely topics such as friendship, sacrifices and making choices in complicated times…

Always in a joyous and dynamic atmosphere! And you, which book would you recommend for a young reader looking for a fun ride?

My grade

To discover

About the book

Author: Jed Lynch
Illustrator: Stephen Stone
Publisher: Little Island Books
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 140
ISBN: 978-1912417414

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