Rory Branagan (Detective)

Rory Branagan thinks his life is pretty amazing. Most afternoons he and his best friend, Wikins Welkin, mess about in the park. Even though Wikins is a neighbour’s sausage dog, they have sleepovers. The thought of Wikins’s doggy dreams make Rory smile. His sole night worry is that no one tells him anything. Specifically, he wants to know about his dad, who left when Rory was three, that is to say seven years ago. His new next-door neighbour, Cassidy, suggests he become a detective and find out. Cassidy declares herself his Accomplice. The first actual crime they encounter involves the poisoning of Guinea Pig Gilligan, the father of Rory’s friend, Corner Boy Gilligan. Corner Boy always stands on the street corner with his spear. His habit of hitting anyone who approaches him gives Cassidy a chance to prove her side-kick credentials.

The book melds text and illustration together seamlessly to produce a humorous crime caper. Many pages consist of a single sentence, the remainder occupied by the accompanying expressive image. The black and white characters are drawn with matchstick limbs, but still overflow with personality and emotion.

The likeable Rory narrates his every observation and speculation, often utilising repetitive phrasing. This, combined with the large font size, ensures an enjoyably easy read that can be devoured quickly. As expected of the first of a seven-part series, the poisoning is solved, while the greater mysteries remain unresolved. There is a sufficient tease to cause impatient anticipation of the next volume.