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Mystery at the Club Sandwich Hardcover – October 18, 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-4 - Nick Trunk, private detective, works for peanuts - he's an elephant. In a deadpan voice, he tells how a beautiful feline walks into his office one morning. She is "trouble" - Maggie Trouble, the assistant to foxy cabaret singer Lola Gale, whose stash of lucky marbles has disappeared. Nick investigates and gathers clues - an ostrich feather, a smudge on the door, an empty jar of expensive peanut butter - and pulls together his list of suspects. He finds the marbles, solves the mystery, and bags the culprit, then moves on to his next case - still working for peanuts. Readers will guess the villain early on but that won't interfere with their enjoyment of the droll story, which is greatly enhanced by delightful illustrations. Cushman uses black watercolor washes, colored pencil, and pastel against a stark white background, suggesting the silver nitrate photographs and popular black-and-white movies of the gumshoe era. The animal characters in their 1930s garb, including Nick in loosened tie, trench coat, and fedora, appear in varying page layouts from partial to full spreads. Nick's conversational tone recalls the famous adult mystery writers of the past; "Sam, Phil, and Dashiell," to whom the book is dedicated, would be proud! - Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
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Review

"With illustrations in a noir-ish gray and a merciless hand with the double entendres...the caper's...a bagful of laughs." KIRKUS Kirkus Reviews

"spoof of noir cinema...charcoal-tinged duotone watercolors, a 1939 calendar and a femme fatale set the smoky ambience." PW Publishers Weekly

"...droll strory...greatly enhanced by delightful illustrations...tone recalls the famous adult mystery writers of the past." SLJ School Library Journal
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books (October 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618419691
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618419692
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #837,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Very Good, But Not Consistent Enough

Boasting a title more clever than its story, "Mystery at the Club Sandwich" pays homage to the mysteries of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. The black and white illustrations (against an appealing silvery-white background) the clipped language, and the tough-guy stance all parody the "noir" films and books of the 1940's, and much of it is funny and clever. Unfortunately, Doug Cushman doesn't quite sustain the noir sensibility throughout the book, and the parody flattens somewhat after a promising beginning.

The opening scene is taken from the Bogart version of "The Maltese Falcon." Detective Nick Trunk, an elephant with a slight resemblance to Lee J. Cobb, encounters a pretty, fur-laden kitten in his office. While the private eye's digs aren't shabby enough, there's some angled reflection on the wall, and his client has some `lip' on her:

"One morning, the door to my office opened. In walked a beautiful lady. She looked like trouble.

`My name is Trouble,' she said. `Maggie Trouble. Are you Nick Trunk?"

`That's my name,' I said."

Lola explains --in direct, short sentences-- a nicely convoluted story about how her employer, singer Lola Gale, lost her marbles. Real marbles (for good luck). Trunk replies "I will take your case," but like any two-bit detective he wants his payment up front. The elephant works for peanuts. (He will settle for peanut brittle, however). Witty, clever, and smartly written satire.

The authenticity begins to evaporate when Trunk meets Gale, who looks more like Ms. Dumont in the Marx Brothers movies than a femme fatale. She's staid-looking, with real pearls, and an upscale air.
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Format: Hardcover
Written in the style of an old Phillip Marlow detective story but for young children, Mystery at the Club Sandwich is a great story with plenty of amusing word play. Even the pictures are black-and-white like the old movie series. It is the story of Club Sandwich singer Lola Gale (a fox) who lost her marbles - her six lucky marbles. It is up to Nick Trunk (an elephant) to solve the mystery and locate her marbles. With only the clues of a peanut butter smudge and an ostrich feather it will be a hard case to solve. Join Nick Trunk as he investigates the magician entertainer, the cook, and even Ms. Gale's personal employee seeking to solve the crime. Wonderfully written entertainment for adults and children Mystery at the Club Sandwich is a highly recommended book for young children.
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Format: Hardcover
Mystery at the Club Sandwich was the best picture book read I've had this year....and it's not even a new release. I read it with a 'mickey spillane' feel and it was so much fun to read. I'm sad to see that it is not available on Amazon as a new book, but i purchased it used and I'm not even going to care about the condition;-)
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Format: Hardcover
Nick Trunk, Private Detective, is a trench coat-wearing elephant who solves crimes and gets paid in peanuts. Nick's latest case involves Lola Gale, a foxy fox who sings every night at Club Sandwich. Lola has literally lost her marbles, the sparkly good luck charms that she holds before every show, and she's hoping Detective Trunk will catch the culprit. Minutes into the case, Nick comes up with two clues--a smear of gourmet La Peanut Goo and an ostrich feather. He also stumbles upon three possible suspects, but in the end, only one of these animals has a clear motive and no alibi. Author and illustrator Doug Cushman's Mystery at Club Sandwich, published in 2004 by Clarion Books, pokes fun at film noir with this clever story filled with double entendres that both children and adults will appreciate. Cushman brings the world of Club Sandwich to life with black and white illustrations that evoke the murky, shadowy world of film noir. While some readers may solve the mystery before Nick does, the story is saved when the long-nosed detective finds Lola's marbles in an unexpected place.
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Format: Hardcover
Doug Cushman, a veteran creator of mysteries for children, presents another thrilling mystery tale with his expressive black-and-white illustrations. This time, the story is set in the Club Sandwich where Lola Gale, the famous singer, loses her lucky marbles. Detective Trunk, who works for peanuts, is hired to solve the case. During his investigation at the Club Sandwich, Detective Trunk finds three suspects--a magician, a singer's assistant and a chef--and a list of clues: an empty jar of peanut butter, a peanut butter smudge on the door and an ostrich feather. So does he find Lola Gale's lucky marbles? Who has stolen the lucky marbles?

The picture book is a page-turner with its arresting plot and suspense. Detective Trunk's first person voice draws readers up front in the crime scene to participate as a witness. The animal characters are properly portrayed through lively dialogue and personified monologue. The black-and-white illustrations conjure up memories of a classic detective tale. Parents and kids can curl up together to solve this sticky mystery.
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Format: Hardcover
Imagine a film noir with all the trappings--a gritty detective, a femme fatale, a shadowy, black-and-white atmosphere. Now imagine that the characters are cartoon animals in sophisticated clothing and the film is condensed into a hilarious and adorable picture book, and you have Doug Cushman's Mystery at the Club Sandwich (Clarion Books, 2004). Nick Trunk is an experienced detective--and an elephant--who "works for peanuts," literally. When a pretty kitty named Maggie Trouble walks into his office and requests his help finding a famous singer's lucky marbles, Nick knows he has his work cut out for him. A slew of suspects, including a pig chef whose specialty is peanut butter sauce, a mediocre magician, and an envious feline assistant further complicate matters. Will Nick succeed in cracking the case, or will the marble thief go free? The black-and-white sketch artwork portrays the lively animal cast in fancy garb and classic noir flair, and is a perfect complement to this introduction to mystery.
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