Cover Image

Max Finder Mystery Collected Casebook by C. Battle and R. Pérez

Battle, Craig and Ramón Pérez. Max Finder Mystery Collected Casebook, Vol. 6, 2012. Toronto: Owlkids Books. Series created by Liam O’Donnell. Print.

Max Finder comics will be familiar to readers of OWL magazine, where the comic strip has been a regular feature. The strip, originally created by Liam O’Donnell, is anthologized in the series Max Finder Mystery: Collected Casebook. The sixth volume in this series features the work of writer, Craig Battle and illustrator, Rámon Pérez, and includes ten illustrated stories, two textual stories, tips for holding a Max Finder mystery party and advice for teachers.

Each strip sets up a perplexing mystery that youngster Max Finder and his friends unravel with keen observations and intricate deductions. Readers must study the details in the story and illustrations in order to match wits with the sleuths. It’s a bit like Encyclopedia Brown meets Where’s Waldo. The puzzles are not easy to figure out, and it takes discipline not to flip ahead to the answer. The dedicated reader, though, learns to exercise powers of careful reading (and seeing) not normally required for tweets and texts.

The stories feature: a diverse cast of heroes and villains that seems designed to appeal to girls and boys; memorable situations (e.g., two competing house parties on the same night); and elements of contemporary culture (e.g., gaming tournaments). Readers are led to consider motive and opportunity, and look for logical inconsistencies. The collection is a convenient format for Max Finder fans who really want to dig in and flex their brains. It could also be an introduction to OWL magazine for some.

Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: John Huck

John Huck is a Metadata and Cataloguing Librarian at the University of Alberta. He holds an undergraduate degree in English literature and maintains a special interest in the spoken word. He is also a classical musician and has sung semi-professionally for many years.