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A Series of Middle-Grade Mystery Novels by John Madormo

Charlie Collier, Snoop for Hire:
The Homemade Stuffing Caper

I invite you to join me as I embark on my first adventure...  The Homemade Stuffing Caper.  It will prove to be exciting as well as dangerous.  But what do you expect...I'm a private detective.  And I owe all of my success to Sam Solomon, Private Eye, the main character in a series of mystery novels that I've read countless times. I give Sam credit for helping me develop and refine my amazing powers of deduction.  

Each day after school, I meet up with my best friend, Henry Cunningham.  We immediately head to my parents' garage...the official headquarters of the Charlie Collier, Snoop for Hire Detective Agency.  It isn't long before fellow classmates begin strolling in with problems...problems that only a super sleuth can solve.  Some are a breeze.  Others are more challenging. 

I had been at it for a few months when I found myself growing tired of the mundane, junior-high mysteries, and yearning for the big score—a case that only a Sam Solomon could solve.

I soon got my wish when Scarlett Alexander, a classmate of mine, and the girl of my dreams, wandered into my office.  She asked for assistance in finding her grandfather’s lost parrot...a relatively simple request.  But little did I know that from that moment on, my life would be forever changed. 

                  Published by 
Penguin Books for Young Readers

    Reading Level:  Ages 9 and up
Charlie Collier, Snoop for Hire:
The Camp Phoenix Caper

​And please join me for my next caper.   Following a harrowing experience in The Homemade Stuffing Caper, I was only too happy to return home, resume agency operations in my garage, and take on even the most mundane challenges from classmates.  It isn’t long, however, before another big score surfaces.

When Sherman Doyle, the sixth grade man-child, strolls into my office, my next adventure is about to begin. Sherman’s older brother, Josh, a habitual runaway, has disappeared once again. Since the police have repeatedly expended manpower and resources to search for the misguided youth, his latest disappearance is met with a low priority effort. Sherman then turns to the Charlie Collier, Snoop for Hire Detective Agency for help in locating his brother.

At the same time, a rash of unsolved burglaries has gripped the Oak Grove, Illinois area. Reports indicate that juvenile gangs are suspected. City fathers, unable to curb the crime spree, have teamed up with an unlikely partner—Harvard Culpepper—a para-military survivalist who runs his own boot camp for wayward teens. Culpepper, who refers to himself as The Colonel, has convinced the city council to release the young people in its youth detention facility and to place them under his custody for rehabilitation at his compound, Camp Phoenix.

Could there be a connection between the disappearance of Sherman's brother and the string of burglaries?  It's my job to find out...no matter how dangerous it may be!  If you'd like to follow me on this adventure, you'll want to pick up a copy of "The Camp Phoenix Caper," now available in hardcover and paperback.

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Charlie Collier, Snoop for Hire:
The Copycat Caper
And you won't want to miss my third caper.  In this adventure, the local newspaper is filled with reports of a pair of unsolved crimes in the Oak Grove area—the theft of a rare painting from the local art gallery, and the discovery of hundreds of dollars in counterfeit bills at a downtown convenience store.

Meanwhile at school, the drama teacher, Mr. Miles, a long-time thespian well past retirement age, stops by Mrs. Jansen’s class to recruit cast members for the new sixth grade play, one which he has written. Mr. Miles,well aware of my reputation, asks me if I would consider playing the role of the private detective in his play. At first, I politely decline. I've never thought of himself as an actor. But when Scarlett is cast as the young heroine, I reconsider. 

The next day I pay a visit to Eugene to tell him about my new stage role. During the conversation, he asks me if I've heard the good news—it’s the 75th anniversary of the Sam Solomon Mystery Theater—a series of old-time radio programs that ran in the 1930’s and ‘40’s.  Eugene informs me that a local radio station, in celebration of the anniversary, is currently running the programs.

How could a crime spree, the school play, and the Sam Solomon radio series possibly be connected?  There's one way to find out.  Read "The Copycat Caper," now available online or through this website.  

Charlie Collier, Snoop for Hire:
The Buried Treasure Caper

In the latest Charlie Collier Snoop for Hire mystery, I am approached by fellow classmate, Cassie Caldwell.  She is willing to pay me to break into the teachers' lounge and investigate a newly unearthed time capsule.  

It seems that Mrs. Faulkner, the faculty advisor to the school newspaper, is offering a page one exclusive to the student reporter who can research the contents of the time capsule without actually seeing it.  Cassie isn't interested in ​poring through old copies of the school newspaper to learn what was stored in the time capsule 50 years ago.  So she hires me to do the dirty work for her.

When Scarlett learns that we'll have to gain access to the teachers' lounge to complete this mission,  she immediately balks and resigns from the agency.  It is now up to Henry and me to pull off this caper.  We reluctantly agree to take on Cassie's case.  

Henry and I manage to come up with an ingenious disguise to get past the cleaning crew and make our way into the teachers' lounge.  We find the time capsule and carefully examine each item housed within.  There is even a list of the contents.  We cross reference each precious artifact with the list and soon learn that one item was never recorded on the list--an 1870 3-dollar gold piece.  Little did we know at the time that the gold coin now in our possession was the missing clue to a murder case that had remained unsolved for half a century.
Many thanks to Stephanie Aspan, a language arts teacher at Kennedy Junior High in Naperville, IL for creating a wonderful book trailer for "The Homemade Stuffing Caper."