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The Highly Effective Detective (Teddy Ruzak Mysteries) Hardcover – June 27, 2006

3.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A spectacular start . . . highly entertaining. Ruzak, reminiscent at first of both A Confederacy of Dunces's Ignatius J. Reilly and of Columbo, fast becomes his own uniquely realized character. The narrative takes unforeseen, utterly believable twists that wind to an extremely satisfying close. By turns touching, suspenseful and hilarious, this is sure to be one of the most well regarded-and enjoyed-mystery debuts of the year."
- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
"A colorful, memorable detective . . . tells a suspenseful story full of great humor and careful plotting. Highly recommended."
- Library Journal (starred review)
 
"A compelling protagonist . . . his rambling thoughts contain wonderful truths and bits of brilliant insight. Mature teen readers will enjoy this mystery, especially if they are fans of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Most teens reading this book will probably be more rational than Teddy in many ways, despite his advanced age, which young readers will relish. The story is told with subtle humor and excellent characterizations. It is a solid mystery with the potential to appeal to older teens."
- VOYA
 
"Full of wry humor, action, and plot twists. The novel's biggest asset is quirky storyteller-sleuth Teddy Ruzak."
- Hallie Ephron, Boston Globe
 
"Quick-moving and funny . . . my 14-year-old daughter plowed through the book in one sitting."
- Entertainment Weekly, "50 Hot Summer Books" pick
 
"Move over, Sam Spade. A priceless nebbish has joined the private-eye ranks.
An adorably quixotic adventure."
- Kirkus Reviews
  
"An ironic antihero . . . the story is fun and quick. Teens who enjoy Lawrence Block's 'Burglar' books will find that this one appeals as well."
- School Library Journal
 
"Funny the way Donald E. Westlake's novels are funny...Witty remarks abound, and the central character is a keeper."
- Booklist

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–With the money Teddy Ruzak inherits from his mother, the overweight man decides to start his own business. Failing to become a policeman, he's been a security guard for years; now is the time to break out and get into detective work, the reason he was first drawn to law enforcement. Ruzak is an ironic antihero who not only doesn't know much about detecting, but also can't avoid getting suckered by his newly hired assistant (who goes on shopping sprees with his money) or the local deputy (who is too interested in the case of the gosling hit-and-run to be above anyone's suspicion except Ruzak's). The small-town Tennessee setting is both corny and cozy, but not all of the characters here are sweet: in addition to the gosling killer, there's a man with two dead wives and an arsonist. No character is more than stereotypical, and plot twists range from gentle turns to hairpins, but the story is fun and quick. Teens who enjoy Lawrence Block's Burglar books (Morrow/Avon) will find that this one appeals as well.–Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Series: Teddy Ruzak Mysteries (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (June 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312347529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312347529
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,514,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Carole Barkley on September 24, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The protagonist is Teddy Ruzak, a security guard who always dreamed of becoming a private eye. An inheritance makes it possible for him to go into business as one ... except that he has not the slightest idea of how to run a business or how to detect anything. He manages to get a client ... a guy who wants him to find the person who heartlessly ran over some goslings ... and that leads Teddy into some real detective work involving a murder. He manages to solve the case in spite of himself, with a lot of bumbling along the way. Teddy, who is remarkably knowledgeable about a wide range of subjects, is given to long, rambling digressions that make for very funny and often insightful paragraphs. Teddy's free-association style of thinking is, truth be told, probably pretty close to the way we actually process and synthesize information.
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By A Customer on July 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In Knoxville, Tennessee Theodore "Teddy" Ruzak dreamed of becoming a detective ever since his mom gave him an illustrated Holmes book for his tenth birthday. Encyclopedia Brown enhanced his aspirations, but following high school he failed at the Police Academy. He became a guard and still remains one today at thirty three years old. A week before dying, his mom informs him that he will inherit plenty of money soon; not long after she died Teddy quits his day job to become a private sleuth since he has enough money to live out his dream.

Unlicensed and unperturbed, Teddy opens up his firm and quickly obtains his first client and a paying one at that. Parker Hudson informs him that the police laughed at his complaint about a killer getting away with the crime of running over six goslings; he wants the culprit brought to justice so does elderly visitor Eunice Shriver (not the Yankee one). With the help of his faithful office assistant Felicia, when she is not watching her son, he begins investigating the mass murders of the baby geese, but soon finds himself in the midst of a human homicide too.

This amusing investigative tale stars one of the best protagonists to work the trade in years and will be considered one of the best of 2006. The story line is filled with plenty of realistic twists, but is driven by Teddy, who turns from pathetic loser into THE HIGHLY EFFECTIVE DETECTIVE. The investigation is fun to follow as Teddy blunders and meanders in his wild goose chase pursuit that turns into a whodunit that is light years beyond his experience. Readers will adore his courage and perseverance as he refuses to quit.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While this book was mildly amusing, I found the wandering musings of the title character and his ineffectual personality dull. I do have friends who enjoy this type of book--all the philosophies and opinions the character expounds upon--but it is just not a style of writing I enjoy. If you are looking for a detective story, this book is not for you.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Yancey's protagonist is an inept, bumbling private detective who is hilarious and very likable. I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery, and I bought the next two books in the series. I am an aficionado of cozy mysteries, and this series really surprised me. The setting, Knoxville, TN, didn't hurt. It is my hometown, and Yancey ably demonstrates his knowledge of the city. Check this series out!
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Format: Hardcover
This meanders aimlessly with the goal of telling a story so disjointed that you get so bored with it you want to pull out your hair. I finished it only because I wanted to know who really killed the babies. Skip it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed both this as well as the Highly Effective Detective goes to the Dogs. I think fans of Donna Andrews and other humorous mystery writers will also enjoy Richard Yancey. Yancey's characters are very believable and very human. I found Teddy especially endearing, as I know real "smart" people who suffer from the same clumsy verbalness which arises from thinking so quickly that your mouth is always trying to catch up.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This main character is very wordy, but the book has it's humorous moments. Some good twists in the story line. Ruzak(main character) can me annoying with the long rants.
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