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The Greek Who Stole Christmas (Diamond Brothers, Book 7) Paperback – September 11, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8–Tim Diamond, a clueless London private detective, and his intelligent 14-year-old brother, Nick, are down on their luck again. Surprisingly, they receive a job just before Christmas to protect a gorgeous Greek celebrity singer named Minerva from recent death threats. Turns out, she is a coldhearted beauty who only cares about two things–money and Minerva. When shots are fired and a body is found strangled, all kinds of trouble ensues between Minerva, her aging husband, her manager, the Diamond Brothers, and the police. There are a few suggestive references to Minerva's appearance and her silver-plated breasts but nothing more racy or graphic. The witty banter between the characters keeps this short novel moving at breakneck speed. Tim's literal misinterpretations of everything are absurdly funny, and Nick's skill at solving the crime before anyone else, including the police, is entertaining. Horowitz is a master of tongue-in-cheek wit and groan-worthy puns that both sophisticated young mystery readers and older fans will enjoy.–Madeline J. Bryant, Los Angeles Public Library
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Canny young private detective Nick Diamond and his hilariously clueless older brother, Tim, stumble their way through another slapstick caper—this time protecting a gorgeous but self-absorbed international pop star from an anonymous killer. In London to make appearances at various Christmastime events and to promote her new single, the dazzling Minerva (blond hair, green eyes, “lips that looked like they could suck in a horse”) has received a pair of cryptic death threats. The Diamond brothers spring into action, which generally means winding up flat on their faces or in the clutches of brutish police officers Snape and Boyle. There is a murder, but it’s offstage, and ultimately, they pull off a climactic rescue amid the holiday chaos at Harrods and nab a bad Santa. The riffs on renowned crime novels and films lie thinner on the ground here than in previous episodes, but this, too, will be perfect for Chet Gecko graduates. Grades 4-7. --John Peters
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As the story starts, the brothers are broke and Christmas is not far away. Their affairs improve when Tim is retained to protect a glamorous international celebrity called Minerva, a pop princess and film star of Greek origin, who is receiving death threats on the occasion of her visit to London to switch on the Christmas lights and open the Santa Claus grotto in Harrods. Her husband insists on hiring a private detective, both for extra security and to find the originator of the threats, and her manager is ordered to find one and bring him in for approval. We need to wait until the end of the story to learn why the obviously idiotic and incompetent Tim was selected for the job. I hadn't realised that Tim was 28 years old by the way. After making a fool of himself yet again, he actually makes some sensible remarks about his unsuitability for the private detection business. As usual, it is Nick who notices anomalies, solves all of the mysteries and identifies the would-be killer and the reasons for the threats. The story that began on such a low note ends on a much higher one when the manager gives the brothers a £10,000 cheque in gratitude for all they have done to further the career of Minerva, his most famous and lucrative client.
Minerva does seem an unlikely name for someone of Greek origin: I realise that it is supposed to make us think of Madonna, but Minerva was the Roman name for the Greek goddess Athena. This is just a minor objection, and although it is not the best Diamond Brothers adventure the story does have some good features. The scene where the brothers rush to tidy up their messy office when there is an unexpected knock on their door is very amusing. I also particularly liked the references to Regent Street: it is so true that it is full of shops selling clothes that we couldn't possibly afford and wouldn't want to buy even if we could, and that the Christmas lights are no longer worth travelling to see. Obvious, but spot on. Anthony Horowitz often comes up with observations like this, which is why I continue to read these stories.