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   Mystery of Mr. Nice, The, by Bruce Hale  
  Novel, first publication in April 2001
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       Additional Information  
      When Principal Zero doesn't punish Chet Gecko for his less than flattering drawing of a teacher, Chet, the best lizard detective at Emerson Hicky Elementary, knows something fishy is going on. "And I was just the gecko to find out what it was." Soon this hard-boiled fourth-grade detective is on the case, mixing with a tough hamster ex-con named Guido, a brass-knuckle-wielding bat called Ms. Darkwing, and the ringleader, a fat cat fake principal who aims to take over the elementary school and turn it into a vocational school for criminals. But will Chet and his cohort, a mockingbird by the name of Natalie, get to the bottom of this mystery before the ill-fated PTA meeting where this dastardly plot will be unveiled? With the help of a hyper tree frog named Popper, and Tony and Bo, a pair of food-fighting newt brothers, they just might crack this case.

    Future Raymond Chandler fans will think they've died and gone to heaven when they get a load of Bruce Hale's private eye series (The Chameleon Wore Chartreuse and others). Chet Gecko has the lingo down cold ("Hey, brown eyes... How's tricks?" "Had our principal gone plumb crazy, or was he off somewhere taking the Big Nap?"), along with the most groan-worthy grade-school humor around. Hilarious line drawings of a menagerie of characters, shady and otherwise, add an even finer note of humor to this already sidesplitting mystery. (Ages 7 to 12)

    Source: Emilie Coulter,

    Most folks know him as the best lizard detective at Emerson Hicky Elementary, but it's not all knuckles and know-how with Chet Gecko. He's also got his artistic side.
    If it wasn't for his art, he might never have been sent to Principal Zero's office, where he stumbled onto the mystery of Mr. Nice. Because whatever you can say about Principal Zero, one thing is certain: He is not nice. Until now.
    Chet knows something is wrong with this picture, and he's just the gecko to solve this mystery. After all, who do you think put the art in smart aleck?

      Part of series  
  • Chet Gecko Mystery (#2)

      Related theme(s)  
  • Detectives - Sleuths - Pis - Bounty Hunter
  • Humor - Comedy - Satire
  • Intelligent Animals - Talking Animals - Sentient Animals
  • Mystery
  • Universities - Campus - School
  • Young Reader - Books for Children (9 to 12)

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