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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Detective Gordon: The First Case
by Ulf Nilsson
Age Range: 9-11
Someone is stealing the squirrel’s nuts that he's stored away for the winter – 'monstrous plunderers' he shouts as he rushes to the police station. Squirrel discovers Detective Gordon, Chief of Police, a rather plump toad and the only policeman in the forest, fast asleep over his paperwork surrounded by cake crumbs. However, once awoken Detective Gordon springs into action and heads out to investigate the crime.
Unfortunately, solving this case means standing in the snow and waiting for a long time and he’d much rather be in his cosy police station drinking tea, eating cake and stamping important papers. After a while Detective Gorden catches a cold and hungry mouse stealing one of squirrel’s nuts. He takes the perpetrator back to the police station for interrogation but soon establishes that the little mouse without a name is not the culprit. Buffy, as Detective Gordon decides to call the mouse becomes his apprentice and together with their combined skills they are finally able to solve the crime.
Award-winning Swedish author Ulf Nilsson has created a delectable book. Simply and beautifully told, (translated by Julia Marshall), it is a warm and funny story which is sure to appeal to children. The characters of Detective Gordon and his little accomplice are completely endearing and the humour that permeates the story is enhanced by the enchanting pen and ink watercolour by Gitte Spee. There are full page illustrations and pages interspersed with small vignettes displaying the winter landscape, Detective Gordon completely covered in a mound of snow while he waits to catch the thief red-handed or his cosy police station with its glowing fire, cakes lined up on the desk to be eaten and a soft quilt on the bed in the police cell. There's even a map of Detective Gordon's police district showing the scene of the crime at the back of the book.
See other titles by Ulf Nilsson – All the Dear Animals, The Best Singer in the World, Goodbye Mr. Muffin and When We Were Alone in the World.