The famous detective, Ambrosius Nosegoode, has retired to a small town, hoping to enjoy a peaceful life of flute-playing and radish-growing. However, when a neighbour’s precious music box is stolen, Detective Nosegoode finds himself lured back into the world of detection. While Nosegoode gathers clues and conducts interviews, his talking canine sidekick, Cody, determines to sniff about a suspicious stranger – his obviously fake beard suggests secrets aplenty!
This is a solid mystery suitable for readers just beginning to delve into detective fiction, and attentive readers will be especially rewarded. The duo find important clues, carefully question witnesses, and balance the pros and cons of different solutions. Although there are a few tense moments, the tale’s tone and content are predominantly light, and the focus remains largely on the teasing out of the central puzzle. Additionally, the central pair bounce well off each other, adding warmth and whimsy.
Despite the old-fashioned spirit of the story and setting, the language is accessible, and the overall tale is concise. This is complemented by the high production standard of the book, with clear and engaging font and layout, good quality paper, and an attractive, sturdy cover. Jerzy Flisak’s crude line illustrations also add to the overall charm of this quaint little mystery.
The Music Box Mystery is the first in the Detective Nosegoode series, translated and published by Pushkin Press. The original series is a classic of Polish children’s literature, with this first book published in 1968.