________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 16. . . .December 18, 2015


The Ghost and Max Monroe, Case #3, The Dirty Trick.

L. M. Falcone. Illustrated by Kim Smith.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2015.
93 pp., pbk. & hc., $6.95 (pbk.), $12.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-77138-019-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-77138-155-0 (hc.).

Grades 1-5 / Ages 6-10.

Review by Harriet Minuk.

*** /4



“I’m afraid not.”

“It looks like someone is trying to warn you.”

“Yes, but who? And why wouldn’t they just tell me in person? And what kind of dirty trick to they mean?”

“That’s what I’m here to find out,” said Max.


The Ghost and Max Monroe, Case #3: The Dirty Trick begins with Max taking a call at the Monroe Detective Agency from the mystery writer Rhonda Remington. The author had been nominated for the “Mystery Hall of Fame”, and the ceremony was to take place that evening. Rhonda was in a tie with Nella Norman, and, as a means to determine a winner, both had been invited to tell their favourite stories in front of three judges. However, a note had been slipped into Rhonda's purse stating “ beware....a dirty trick”. At Rhonda’s request, Max and Uncle Larry headed to Waldon Hall where the reception was to take place.

     Individuals who have read the previous two cases, The Ghost and Max Monroe. Case #1, The Magic Box and The Ghost and Max Monroe. Case #2, The Missing Zucchini, will find many similarities in the plot development. The story unfolds in the same way, beginning with Max staying at his grandfather Harry’s house, then a phone call for help. Max and his Uncle Larry continue to be the regular characters, both with roles that have been established previously. Uncle Larry, a detective who happens to be a ghost, still behaves like a human man-child in contrast to his responsible 10-year-old nephew, although he clearly doesn’t see it that way.

“Now Max,” said Larry, sliding off the bike, “you're on your own tonight, and I won’t be there to help you. But if you stay strong, everything will be okay.”

     As before, Falcone has created believable suspects with legitimate motives to play a “dirty trick” on Rhonda Remington. After each encounter, Detective Max methodically takes out his notebook, entering:

Suspect #1 – Lew Jacobs
Motive – Gambling

Suspect #2 – Nella Norman
Motive – Winning the competition

     After the trick occurs, Max is able to figure out who the culprit is from his various conversations and observations throughout his visit to Waldon Hall. Max is the undeniable star because of his acute powers of reasoning and continued flare for solving the unknown.

      Readers should find The Ghost and Max Monroe, Case #3: The Dirty Trick enjoyable, and, once again, they will be kept guessing throughout.


Harriet Minuk is a librarian at Winnipeg Public Library in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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ISSN 1201-9364
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