"The Case of the Nervous Newsboy"

Case of the Nervous Newsboy by E. W. Hildick: Book Cover


Book: The Case of the Nervous Newsboy: A McGurk Mystery

Author: E. W. Hildick

Illustrator: Lisl Weil

Publisher: Sundance/Newbridge Educational Publishing, reprinted in 1991

ISBN-13: 9780887418075

ISBN-10: 0887418074

Language level: 2 (some common euphemisms)

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

For more information e-mail homeschoolbookreview@gmail.com

Hildick, Edmund Wallace. Case of the Nervous Newsboy: A McGurk Mystery (published in 1976 by Mcmillan Publishing Co. Inc., 866 Third St., New York City, NY 10022; republished in 1981 by Weekly Reader Books, 1250 Fairwood Ave., Columbus, OH 43216). Jack McGurk is ten years old and has his own Organization which specializes in detective work with his friends Wanda Grieg, Willie Sandowsky, and Joey Rockaway who narrates the story. McGurk has just developed a Special Foolproof Shadow Squad Plan, and the group decides to test it out on their friend, thirteen-year-old newspaper boy Simon Emmet. The morning they try it, Simon already seems nervous, and when he finally spots the other kids following him, he becomes really upset. After learning that they were indeed shadowing him, he accuses them of spying on him for her, he rides away on his bike and the next day is missing. McGurk and his gang were almost the last ones to see him. What part in the mystery do they play? And will they be able to help find Simon?

Even though this is a children’s story, it is well-crafted and should be able easily to hold the attention of an adult, let alone a youngster. Weekly Reader usually exercised fairly good judgment in making choices for their book club, and with a few exceptions their selections tend to be above average. This one certainly fits that description. There is almost nothing to which one might object. A few common euphemisms (darn, gee, gosh, and golly) appear, and the illustrations are extremely 70s-ish in which some of the boys have rather long hair. However, when the book was republished in 1991, it had new illustrations by John Lane. The subtitle seems to imply that there were other McGurk Mysteries—and there were:

The Case of the Absent Author

Case of the Bashful Bank Robber

Case of the Condemned Cat

The Case of the Desperate Drummer

The Case of the Dragon in Distress

The Case of the Fantastic Footprints

Case of the Felon’s Fiddle

The Case of the Four Flying Fingers

Case of the Invisible Dog

Case of the Muttering Mummy

The Case of the Phantom Frog

The Case of the Purloined Parrot

Case of the Secret Scribbler

Case of the Slingshot Sniper

Case of the Snowbound Spy

Case of the Treetop Treasure

Case of the Vanishing Ventriloquist

Case of the Wandering Weathervanes

The Case of the Weeping Witch

The Case of the Wiggling Wig

Deadline for McGurk

Great Rabbit Rip-Off

McGurk Gets Good and Mad

Nose Knows

I do not know which might have come first, but if they are all as good as The Case of the Nervous Newsboy, they are worth reading. Hildick is also the author of the “Birdy” series.

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