Monday, November 21, 2011

MMGM - Backlist Edition: The McGurk Mysteries.

Shannon Whitney Messenger has done a fantastic service to the reading/writing community by highlighting Middle Grade books every Monday in Marvelous Middle Grade Monday!!! (Exclamation points my own, though I assume appreciated by Shannon.) I've decided to contribute in my own quirky, history nerd fashion by highlighting a series that is out of print, but can still be purchased online. (At the screaming rate of $.01 per book.) This series was one of the very first that I ever fell in love with, and one that pulled me out of the Bobbsey Twins/Boxcar Children stage and planted me firmly into the Isaac Asimov/Graphic Novels stage of my reading maturity. That series is the McGurk Mystery Series by E. W. Hildick.

One of my favorite books in the McGurk Series.

The books follow the adventures of McGurk and his friends as they solve age-appropriate mysteries. I say age-appropriate because, for the most part, they investigated missing lawn ornaments, kidnapped cats, or other fantastically minute yet intense crimes within the 12-year old community. There was one book that involved an investigation into insurance fraud, but in that case they worked within the normal limitations of children. (Brilliantly done, I must say)

The first book, The Nose Knows, came out in 1974 and the last, The Case of the Wiggling Wig, came out in 1996, thus there was a time span of 22 years and 24 books. Over that time, the team was comprised of McGurk (the leader and eccentric supersleuth), Joey (the Watson to McGurk's Sherlock), Willy (who specialized in smelling clues), Wanda (the tomboy gifted regarding trees, both identifying and climbing them), Brain (the boy genius and inventor), and Mari Yoshimura (the ventriloquist from Japan who was a human lie detector). They were incredibly diverse, considering the time they were written, and incredibly entertaining.

I'd recommend picking up a few of these and reading them, if for no other reason than to give some love to an author that hasn't gotten a lot of attention in a while.


Joanne Fritz said...

My older son, now 24, LOVED these books when he was 11 or 12. Thanks for highlighting them. It's so sad when books go out of print.

Welcome to Marvelous Middle Grade Monday!

Deb A. Marshall said...


Thanks for these and...for the memories. Er, as a librarian who shared these with the kiddo's in the eighties. Too bad those are o/p.

Waving my cane (hah hah) helloooo and welcome to MMGM!

danika dinsmore said...

Welcome to MGM. :-)

I don't know this series, but sounds like I would have liked them as a kid. I was into Encyclopedia Brown if they're anything like that.

akoss said...

Welcome to MMGM.
I've never heard of these series, so I will be looking them up.

IsaiahC said...

Thanks for the comments! McGurk was one of my favorites, for sure. Glad to see others share the same love.

Comickaze said...

This was one of my gateway books as well. I have been hunting them down one by one from online sources and libraries to create a collection for my own little one.