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South By Southeast (Diamond Brother Mysteries) Paperback – September 8, 2005
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5-9–Horowitz has created another well-written, well-paced spy melodrama. This fifth addition to the series will engage readers with its hilarious, nonstop story line. Tim Diamond, the world's worst detective, has few cases to solve, so he and his younger brother, Nick, are destitute until a stranger offers Tim a fistful of much-needed cash in exchange for his raincoat. With the stranger's violent death, Tim and Nick find themselves dealing with disbelieving police and people claiming to be government agents. The brothers have a multitude of hair-raising adventures, including one in which they are chased by a small plane in a scene reminiscent of Hitchcock's classic film North by Northwest (hence the book's title). The story ends as the sibs meet the chief villain on a village fair's Tunnel of Love ride. Tim is likable but clueless, and Nick, the narrator, the true brains behind their act.–Alice DiNizo, Plainfield Public Schools, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
G. 4-7. The title is but the first of many, many Hitchcockisms in the latest Diamond Brothers mystery. This time aptly named private eye Tim Simple and his cannier teenage brother, Nick, fall into a preposterously complicated plot involving MI6, a Dali painting, a Russian art collector, and an assassin with a missing finger. From the opening murder of secret agent Nick McGuffin in (what else?) a telephone booth to closing denouement in a carnival Tunnel of Love, this nonstop adventure will leave even readers who don't get all the references with a case of vertigo--as well as aching sides from some relentlessly witless dialogue. John Peters
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Diamond brothers are, surprise surprise, broke. They just moved into a cheap and even crappier apartment when suddenly a mysterious man bursts into their office, offers Tim a wad of cash for his coat, and disappears as quickly as he came. When Tim and Nick follow him outside, they find him lying on a sidewalk, dying from a gunshot wound. His last words, drowned out by a train, sounded like "suff bee suff-iss" or was it "south by southeast"? Suddenly, the Diamond Brothers are thrown into another adventure involving MI6 and their chase for the assasin Charon, who murdered the coat man, and "his" plans to murder a Russian diplomat. What follows is the usual funny antics of Nick trying to save Tim from deadly situation after deadly situation including an airplane chase, a deadly magical show, and the aforementioned horror that is the tunnel of love.
While the story is funny and somewhat clever, this mystery would clearly have worked better as a short story. The plotting is stretched, and the fast-paced mystery that makes the series so good did not fit well with this book's slim 148 pages. There was no shocker in the end, and the clues, as far and inbetween as they are, weren't very difficult to figure out. However, while weak in plotting, the book will still engage younger readers with its humor and non-stop storyline.
While somehwat disappointed in "South by Southeast", I am still looking forward to the next installment, as Horowitz has leaked that there's one in the works. Hopefully, if it ever does come to life, the next Diamond Brother's book will return to the qualites that made the first three so enjoyable.
The brothers go to Amsterdam for this assignment, and as usual have many unrealistic, over the top adventures. Tim seems slightly out of character here: he actually notices something before Nick does, and is quite right to be suspicious of someone whom Nick does not accept as a threat. He also picks up a cue from Nick very quickly. Tim goes to an interview for the position of Head of Security of a bank, which is another big joke, and he is again rightly suspicious where Nick is not. The bank is described as a small, square one-floor building in Pall Mall, more like a high class jeweller than a bank. This is exactly what might be expected in this part of London.
The best witticism is when Nick in desperation bids £1,000,000 for an item at Sothebys: the auctioneer says "You're just a boy", and Nick replies "I know, but I get a lot of pocket money". Anyone of any age will appreciate this and want more of the same.