Meet Steve Brixton, who lists The Bailey Brothers' Detective Handbook at the top of the Fifty-nine Greatest Books of All Time, closely followed by the 58 volumes of the Bailey Brothers Mysteries, a Hardy Boys-style series. Steve, an aspiring boy detective, stumbles into a mystery involving the Maguffin quilt, a priceless artifact hidden by its last guardian before his death and still missing. Playing with the tropes of the Stratemeyer mystery series, the book provides all their action and adventure but adds a level of humor that will sometimes have readers laughing out loud. Similarly, Rex's illustrations have a mid-twentieth-century look, and in an accomplished, deadpan manner, offer one of the book's funniest moments. And though librarians usually roll their eyes when a good-guy librarian character appears in a novel, they may find it hard to resist Barnett's over-the-top portrayal of the profession as an elite undercover force expert in intelligence, counterintelligence, Boolean searching, and hand-to-hand combat. A smart, amusing mystery, this promising first novel is a fine start for the Brixton Brothers series.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2009 Booklist
Gr 4-6-Aspiring detective Steve Brixton, 12, gets more than he bargained for when he becomes mixed up with crime-fighting and undercover operatives who are also-librarians! Steve, an avid reader, has been diligently studying The Bailey Brothers' Detective Handbook and has turned into quite a supersleuth. He is working on a social-studies project on early American needlework (definitely not his choice) at the library, and checks out An Illustrated History of American Quilting when a man holds a gun to his head. It seems that all books have coded information in their Library of Congress numbers for the Librarians, who are highly trained intelligence agents. This clandestine society of crime-fighters suspects Steve is working for the mysterious Mr. E., who sells America's secrets. They plan on charging him with treason if he does not come clean about his involvement with the villain and his knowledge about a missing historical quilt that has major information embroidered on it. Barnett's fast-moving plot is sure to hold readers' attention, and children will love Steve's ability to outsmart many of the adults in the story. Incorporating mistaken identities, kidnapping, and a secret underground society, this is a fun, humorous adventure.-Mairead McInnes, Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.