Howard Wallace, P.I. (Howard Wallace, P.I., Book 1)

Howard Wallace, P.I. (Howard Wallace, P.I., Book 1)

by Casey Lyall


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“…Lyall’s debut is a winner.” —Publishers Weekly “What’s with the get-up? Is that the company uniform or something?” “This? All P.I.s wear a trench coat.” “Dude, that’s a brown bathrobe.” I shrugged and straightened out my sleeves. “First rule of private investigation, Ivy: work with what you’ve got.” Twelve-year-old Howard Wallace lives by his list of rules of private investigation. He knows more than anyone how to work with what he’s got: a bathrobe for a trench coat, a makeshift office behind the school equipment shed, and not much else—least of all, friends. So when a hot case of blackmail lands on his desk, he’s ready to solve it himself . . . until the new kid, Ivy Mason, convinces him to take her on as a junior partner. As they banter through stakeouts and narrow down their suspects, Howard begins to wonder if having Ivy as a sidekick—and a friend—is such a bad thing after all. Named a Book Riot middle-grade book for the summer with special recommendation for reluctant readers! Nominated for the 2018 Red Cedar Book Award!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781454926047
Publisher: Sterling Children's Books
Publication date: 08/08/2017
Series: Howard Wallace, P.I. Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 185,974
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Casey Lyall (5’4”, brown hair, blue eyes, no known aliases) is a middle-grade writer from Southwestern Ontario. She works at her local library where she runs a number of teen groups and waits for management to discover they’re actually paying her to have fun. When she’s not writing, Casey loves to bake, watch an “unhealthy” amount of movies and television, and of course, read. She’d consider adding detective work to the list if she could find a proper coat. You can find her on Twitter as @CKLyall and at

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Howard Wallace, P.I. 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Howard Wallace knows how to work with what he's got, ask the right questions, and blend in. Maybe too well. Because while Howard is solving cases around his middle school as a professional kid detective, there's one case that has him stumped. See, he's got his trusty bike, Blue, his bathrobe trench coat, and has struck a deal with the custodian to reserve the utility shed behind the school as his office. But he doesn't have a best friend. As he and his spunky sidekick, Ivy Mason, partner to solve the biggest case at the school, they begin also solving a mystery that hits closer to the heart. Howard and his Sam Spade dry humor and endearing characterization had me blazing through the story as if I were newly inducted junior partner too. Kids, adults, teachers and librarians will laugh out loud and root for Howard Wallace every step of the way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. is the hilarious and delightful story of a lonely, well-meaning kid who desperately wants to be the Sam Spade of his middle school--and manages it, more or less, with varying degrees of success ranging from actual success inevitable disaster. I laughed out loud several times, and I was cheering for Howard and Ivy's friend (and detective partnership!) to work out all the way. The mystery is suitably light-hearted, with enough characters of all ages to make guessing at the answers fun. Howard's family is wonderful, and his relationships with other kids at the school are just perfect--both the good and the bad. Also: The noir detective voice and tropes are so playfully and hilariously deployed. And above all, the whole book is just so funny and heartwarming and charming. Reading it made a bad day get so much better.
MGRocks More than 1 year ago
Howard is a small town private investigator with sticky note business cards—“*work with what you’ve got.” He’s passionate about his middle school career, right down to his brown terry cloth trench coat (i.e.: robe*). He’s also friendless, until a new girl comes to town and volunteers as his partner (junior partner). Howard and Ivy tackle a tricky school case, which leads them into dangerous territory (i.e.: detention and physical injury) and threatens to end their undercover operation for good. This humorous, clever middle grade story highlights the importance of friendship and pursuing your passions. With plenty of humor, action, and intrigue, HOWARD WALLACE P.I. would be a great read for school, public, and private libraries.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE these characters. I LOVE the voice in this story. I LOVE that I was totally drawn in, waiting to see what would happen next. The author has woven together a story that both kids and adults will absolutely adore. Howard Wallace is charming, entertaining, and funny, funny, funny! Add in his new (junior) partner, Ivy, and you've got quite the team. Even his bike takes on an important role in this story. From the way the story is told to the quirks and soft spots of each character, it all comes together to make for a great book. This will certainly be a favorite in libraries and homes everywhere. PLEASE tell me there will be more books with these characters!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a humorous, clever, warm-hearted middle grade story. Howard, the narrator and main character, is funny and smart. His obsession with private investigation is believable and amusing, and he actually makes a pretty good P.I.! There's also a case with clues that drives the plot--something I think middle grade readers would find particularly intriguing. I like the way the middle school social dynamics are woven into the background of the story. Also, there's a strong, boy-girl friendship in the book that was particularly endearing. The narration is heavy on the P.I. lingo, which I worried at first would be hard to sustain, but the author really nails the stylized voice throughout to the point that I felt at home inside Howard's head. This was a fun book that I'd gladly hand to middle grade readers, particularly those interested in sleuthing and enjoying smart humor.
MsVerbose More than 1 year ago
Some books grab you from page one and the goodness never stops. This is one of those! I was laughing from page one and more than once I had to explain to my husband what was so funny. Howard Wallace is a young Private Investigator with an obsession for all things old school. He wears the trench coat (well, brown bathrobe), can't kick his bad habit (chewing gum), and talks just like the all the cliched detectives from the bygone movie era (Film Noir). And the voice is spot on. So when up-and-coming go-getter Merideth hires Howard to solve a case of blackmail, of course he takes it. Despite the new girl Ivy hanging around all the time, things seem to be going just swell to wrap up the case right on schedule. But nothing ever works out that easy, and Howard finds himself in a heap of trouble. Fun plot and spot-on voice aside, this book is more. This book is about changing friendships and dealing with all the rotten stuff that growing up entails. And about embracing the good things. The things that really matter when all's said in done. I so very highly recommend this book, there aren't enough words to say it. Do yourself a favor and check it out! I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
MGReader More than 1 year ago
What a charming and fantastic book! Howard Wallace is an old school gumshoe private investigator — and a middle schooler. And he's got a big case to solve….and a new junior partner to help him do it…. This book is such a great, fun read, in no small part because of the wonderful way the author uses the language of old detective movies to tell the story. Plus there is a real, genuine mystery at the heart of it, complete with clues, spying missions, and anonymous threats. But the best part is that through it all shines Howard, who uses his persona as a PI to hide his frustrations and disappointment with life in middle school. Both the story and the story-telling really work together here, and yet the characters, especially Howard and Ivy, aren't cartoonish or over-simplified. Very enjoyable read.
KathyMacMillan More than 1 year ago
This book was delight from start to finish! Lyall perfectly balances a compelling mystery, fantastic characters, and a spot-on narrative voice in the form of Howard’s hard-boiled twelve-year-old detective. I knew from the reviews that this book would be funny and that I would fall in love with the characters; what I didn’t expect was how heartfelt it would also be, as it confronts head-on the issue of friendships changing – sometimes painfully – in middle school, and the drastic measures some people will take to hold on to the past. I can’t wait to start putting this book into the hands of every kid I meet!
QuinnenDonnelly More than 1 year ago
If there's something to investigate in his hometown of Grantleyville, kid detective Howard Wallace, P.I., is on it. Who needs friends when you can fill your time scoping out the scene of the crime, interviewing suspects, and tracking down stolen goods in the local pawn shop? But when new girl Ivy (of the cop father) arrives on the scene, practically begging to join Howard, can he really say no? Well, he does. Many times. But that doesn't stop Ivy. If there's one thing Ivy is, it's persistent. (Okay, and funny and a great detective.) Casey Lyall's debut middle grade whodunit is pure fun, with noir overtones. She displays such a knack for storytelling within this genre and will keep readers young (and old) quickly turning the pages to solve the crime. I *love* Howard Wallace and his sidekick Ivy, and found myself chuckling at both the situations they found themselves in and their banter along the way. A wonderfully fun debut.