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And Then There Were Gnomes (Guinea Pig Pet Shop Private Eye)

And Then There Were Gnomes (Guinea Pig Pet Shop Private Eye)

By: Colleen Af Venable
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Publication Date: August 2010
ISBN: 978-0761354802
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 2010

All was quiet in Mr. Venezi’s Pets & Stuff pet store, at least for the moment. Sasspants, PI(G), was fast asleep draped over his books. He was a guinea pig detective, but lately he hadn’t had any real work to do. Hamisher, a hamster, was always coming up to him with some fake mystery that had to be solved. He shook Sasspants awake with yet another fake mystery, claiming that all the hamsters were missing. Of course they weren’t but he had to try to get the store’s PI(G) some work. Sasspants wasn’t at all happy and said, “You’ve got to stop doing this! This is like the fifth fake mystery you made up this week!”

Soon it was morning and Mr. V came to open up the shop. Things were soon hopping and bopping in the store. The bunnies were busy dressing up a mouse and making fun of Sasspants as he walked by a pile of books. Children came into the store to look at the pets. Mr. V never could remember the names of the animals and each cage had a silly name. The parrot was a marmot, the mice were labeled walruses, and the hermit crabs were, of course, tractors. The children set him straight and soon he made sure the cages were labeled properly. The mice soon were called gnomes.

After an uneventful day, with no real mystery, the door and lights were shut. Hamisher was walking around the store when all of a sudden he felt a cold spot. He ran to Sasspants, this time with a serious tale to tell. He claimed that “Everyone knows that when there’s a single cold spot it means a ghost lives there.” There had been too many fake mysteries and Sasspants was not going to deal with Hamisher’s foolishness and didn’t believe him. The next day Mr. V not only felt the cold spot, but saw a real live GHOST on the wall! The aisle was shut down and he put up a sign, “Please Enjoy The Rest of Our Shop. This Aisle is Currently HAUNTED.” One by one the mice began to disappear. Now there was a mystery and Sassapants PI(G) was on the job!

This is an adorably spooky mystery that the young graphic novel enthusiast will thoroughly enjoy. I loved the little touches of humor scattered throughout the book, especially when Mr. Venezi never could get the names of the animals quite right. Reluctant readers often gravitate toward graphic novels and this one will hold their interest as the little mystery deepens. This is not the type of mystery that gives out clues to think about, but rather is one that keeps the reader in the dark right until the very end. No spoilers here, but once the mystery is solved, everything makes sense. In the back of the book Hamisher gives us a little discussion on all the finer qualities that mice have and tells us all about them. Did you know that “people in ancient Greece worshipped mice?”

Quill says: If you have a youngster who is a budding mystery lover and wants to know a little more about gnomes, this is one book you may wish to consider!

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