Author: Don Bruns
Publication: Oceanview Publishing (December 6, 2010)
Description: It's official: stumbling, bumbling James Lessor and Skip Moore are licensed private investigators. Now, that's some scary stuff. It could take time to get Moore or Less investigations off the ground, so James takes a job with a traveling carnival show. But this show has a dubious reputation, having had a string of accidents and at least one death in the past year. When they're hired to investigate what's caused the carnival chaos, James and Skip set into motion a dizzying, roller coaster chain of events. After a terrifying trip on the Dragon Tail ride, a not-so-fun dust-up in Freddy's Fun House, and a host of threats, James and Skip realize they'll get anything but cooperation from this cantankerous cast of carnies. But when a carnival worker is murdered, James and Skip will have to act fast-because they might be next in line. For James and Skip, the only thing sweeter than the smell of corndogs and fried dough will be the sweet smell of success-but in this case, "success" means getting out alive. This investigation is going completely off the rails.
My Thoughts: Honestly, what a book! It was a combination of Hardy Boys, Laurel and Hardy, and Dumb and Dumber. You have have to look pretty hard to find more inept detectives than Skip Moore and James Lessor. James is the big dreamer who always gets the guys into impossible situations because of his overly optimistic view of the world. Each new "get rich quick" scheme will be the one that finally works. Skip is the pessimist who is always following his friend around and trying to get him out of the situations he lands himself in. Neither one has any ambition or drive. They both want the American Dream but aren't willing to do any of the work needed to get it.
This adventure has them investigating some strange disappearances at a cut-rate carnival. They know they are on to something when folks start trying to discourage them from investigating. There are a series of accidents but none manage to discourage our heroes. The do bumble their way to triumph at the end but don't end up any richer.
I liked the constant references to movie quotes. I liked the friendship between Skip and James. Although the friendship seemed pretty one-way in this one with Skip bearing most of the weight for his friend James. There were a number of quirky characters including Winnie Pugh who runs a petting zoo and whose main claim to fame is a 'cease and desist' letter from the Walt Disney Company.
This was a fun, engaging mystery. I recommend it as a light read for mystery lovers. Other books also featuring Skip and James include:
- Stuff to Die For (2007)
- Stuff Dreams Are Made Of (2008)
- Stuff to Spy For (2009)
"Reminds me of the dwarf I rear-ended with my truck last year," James said.
"I don't remember that."
"Oh, yeah. He gets out of his car and he yells, 'I'm not Happy.' So I said, well, then which one are you?"
I didn't bother to smile.