by Julia Buckley
I was reminiscing today about my earliest books--the first ones I read alone. I think this one may have been my first mystery; I received it in the mail through a children's book club, back when snail mail was the only kind, and little children looked longingly in the box every day. Imagine my joy when there was a package there for me, every four weeks or so, with hardback books inside.
Big Max was a wonderful book involving a detective who traveled by umbrella; he was hired to solve a case for the King of Pooka Pooka, who had lost his beloved elephant. The story, looking back, seems a mixture of mystery, humor, and surrealism.
I can still remember the joy of discovering that book, but also the thrill of crime solving. I'm not sure if I figured out the ending or not, but I know the resolution was satisfying, even to my seven-year-old self. Eventually I moved on to such sophisticated fare as Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames, then the Boxcar Children and Trixie Belden, and after that I read single-title suspense novels by authors like Mary Stewart, Phyllis A. Whitney, Velda Johnston and Victoria Holt.
Big Max is still in print and available to a whole new generation of children (and perhaps future mystery lovers). I'm grateful to Kin Platt for my first mystery reading experience.
Which book introduced you to the world of mystery?