Elliot Armbruster is an average tenth grader with a dream--he wants to be a detective like his TV hero Dangerous Dan McGrew. Opportunity knocks when Lincoln High's mascot, a goat, disappears at a pep rally. Elliot decides to investigate. But finding the goat isn't that simple. An anonymous tip on the goat hotline inspires Elliot to launch a rescue mission that turns into an outrageous wild goose--or goat--chase. Elliot soon discovers that in real life you can't cut to a commercial and success is never guaranteed.
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Grade 6-10?Elliot Armbruster, 15, dreams of becoming a private detective, and when the school mascot disappears, he gets firsthand experience in the field. Through observation, deduction, and luck, Elliot solves the mystery, becomes a hero, and makes new friends. This humorous contemporary mystery is more about finding oneself than finding a goat. Reminiscent of Blossom Culp in Richard Peck's The Ghost Belonged to Me (Viking, 1975), the young man and his cohorts are likable, problem-solving teens. They face their own ghosts?parental pressure and low self-esteem?rather than supernatural ones, however. The characters are well developed, growing as they discover their own good qualities. Elliot's mother discovers her own path to self-satisfaction, and is portrayed in a sympathetic and believable way. Although the crises are somewhat contrived and the outcome is a little too good to be true, the clever, engaging characters hold the story together and maintain readers' interest to the end.?Carrol McCarthy, Tower Hill School, Wilmington, DE
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Snappy narration and a waggish sense of humor carry this caper, first in a planned series of Elliot Armbruster mysteries. Beguiled by detective shows on TV, 15-year-old Elliot plans to become a private eye-and when the goat that serves as the high school mascot disappears before a big game, Elliot seizes the opportunity to launch his career. Story lines proliferate at a wild rate and the plot piles up red herrings, but Goldman (Money to Burn) never loses control. Here, characters and events pay comic homage to hardboiled conventions, and narrator Elliot is more wiseacre than tough guy. In a characteristically dry exchange, he signs a classmate's petition to save the ocean from pollution, then asks the girl who she'll deliver the petitions to: "'God,' she answered without blinking. 'We figure that if we get enough signatures, She'll have to take notice.' That sounded more reasonable than handing them over to some oil company." Start to finish, this one's lots of fun. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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