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Howard Wallace, P.I.

(Howard Wallace, P.I. #1)

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  452 ratings  ·  142 reviews
“What’s with the get-up? Is that the company uniform or something?”
“This? All P.I.s wear a trench coat.”
“Dude, that’s a brown bathrobe.”
I shrugged and straightened out my sleeves. “First rule of private investigation, Ivy: work with what you’ve got.”

Twelve-year-old Howard Wallace lives by his list of rules of private investigation. He knows more than anyone how to work
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by Sterling Children's Books
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Casey Lyall Yes, it's a mystery book. :D…moreYes, it's a mystery book. :D(less)
Casey Lyall Hi, Maya! Howard Wallace, P.I. is a middle grade book aimed at kids in the 8-12 age range.

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Average rating 4.31  · 
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 ·  452 ratings  ·  142 reviews

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Start your review of Howard Wallace, P.I. (Howard Wallace, P.I., #1)
Heidi Heilig
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The first thing I noticed about HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. was the voice.

Now, I'm not a detective, but even I spotted the brilliant noir flourishes in this adorable MG debut.

One reason I love middle grade so much--and one reasons it's such a challenging thing to write--is that middle grade books have to function on those two Shakespearean levels: something for the balcony and something for the pit. (Kids and adults--or I suppose sometimes vice versa.) HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. is a great example of this.

Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE these characters. I LOVE the voice in this story. I LOVE that I was totally drawn in, waiting to see what would happen next.

The author has woven together a story that both kids and adults will absolutely adore. Howard Wallace is charming, entertaining, and funny, funny, funny! Add in his new (junior) partner, Ivy, and you've got quite the team. Even his bike takes on an important role in this story.

From the way the story is told to the quirks and soft spots of each character, it all comes
Monica Tesler
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate to read an advance readers' copy of Howard Wallace, P.I. This was a humorous, clever, warm-hearted middle grade story. Howard, the narrator and main character, is funny and smart. His obsession with private investigation is believable and amusing, and he actually makes a pretty good P.I.! There's also a case with clues that drives the plot--something I think middle grade readers would find particularly intriguing. I like the way the middle school social dynamics are woven into th ...more
Lee Malone
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a charming and fantastic book! Howard Wallace is an old school gumshoe private investigator — and a middle schooler. And he's got a big case to solve….and a new junior partner to help him do it….

This book is such a great, fun read, in no small part because of the wonderful way the author uses the language of old detective movies to tell the story. Plus there is a real, genuine mystery at the heart of it, complete with clues, spying missions, and anonymous threats. But the best part is that
Abby Cooper
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was such a fun, creative, hilarious book! Between a mystery full of cool twists and turns, an abundance of extremely clever humor, and characters you want to be your new BFFs, prepare to get totally hooked. Families are going to need to buy multiple copies because it's the kind of book that grown-ups are going to want to "borrow" (aka steal) from their kids. I absolutely loved Howard and sassy sidekick Ivy; their voices completely shine from beginning to end. Highly, highly recommended! Mak ...more
K. Wolf
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Between the voice, the characters, and the ridiculously fun plot, I haven't read a MG this fun and entertaining in a long time! I won't say any more because I don't want to spoil the book for future readers, but you'd be making a huge mistake if you didn't add this to your to-read! Casey Lyall killed her debut, I can't wait to hold a copy in my hands!
Tarun Shanker
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Imagine if Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes decided to have one of his classic extended fantasies as a Humphrey Bogart hard-boiled detective type and you’re halfway to understanding the absolute joy that is Casey Lyall’s Howard Wallace, P.I.

From the very first line, Howard’s distinctive voice grabs and throws you into a clever world that blends middle school life and noir tropes. He’s got a brown robe to serve as his trenchcoat, a gum addiction he can’t kick and a dear old bike named Blue that he h
Kali Wallace
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. is the hilarious and delightful story of a lonely, well-meaning kid who desperately wants to be the Sam Spade of his middle school--and manages it, more or less, with varying degrees of success ranging from actual success inevitable disaster.

I laughed out loud several times, and I was cheering for Howard and Ivy's friend (and detective partnership!) to work out all the way. The mystery is suitably light-hearted, with enough characters of all ages to make guessing at the ans
Jenn Bishop
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If there's something to investigate in his hometown of Grantleyville, kid detective Howard Wallace, P.I., is on it. Who needs friends when you can fill your time scoping out the scene of the crime, interviewing suspects, and tracking down stolen goods in the local pawn shop? But when new girl Ivy (of the cop father) arrives on the scene, practically begging to join Howard, can he really say no?

Well, he does. Many times. But that doesn't stop Ivy. If there's one thing Ivy is, it's persistent. (Ok
Victoria Coe
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Howard Wallace, PI is an absolutely delightful middle grade read from start to finish! The main character, Howard, is sweet, smart, vulnerable, and obsessed with gumshoe detective movies. It is so much fun to watch him in action as he works to solve a big case for a fellow middle school student! With his sidekick Big Blue (his barely ridable bike) and dependable allies (the local pawnbroker & school janitor), he's go
Wendy MacKnight
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-reads
How much do I love Howard Wallace and Ivy? As much as I love Humphrey Bogart, great middle grade fiction, and a story of friendship, that's how much. What a charming jewel f a book this is. The mystery is well done, the characters are three dimensional, and I fell madly in love with Howard, our world weary detective/hero. Kids (and their parents and teachers) are going to love this book. Can't wait for the next case! ...more
Bridget Hodder
May 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Move over, Encyclopedia Brown! Here comes Howard Wallace! He and his friend Ivy Mason are stepping into your shoes...and taking huge strides in a new direction!

This funny, lively Middle Grade caper gives us a cast of characters with real-life problems to deal with, who turn to our twelve-year-old detectives for solutions. And the detectives have plenty of problems themselves!

Author Casey Lyall modernizes the genre with true touches, giving backstory and complexity to Howard and Ivy that make the
Sara Grochowski
This book was so much fun!! I want more mysteries featuring Howard Wallace, P.I.!!
Laura Shovan
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I don't review books, but I do blog about them.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a send-up of detective noir books. You know the kind: slick private eye who’s down on his luck meets questionable dame. She begs for his help and before you know it, he’s up to his fedora in the toughest case of his life.

Then guess who sauntered into my life and onto my bookshelf? A pint-sized gumshoe with no friends, a beloved but decrepit pair of wheels, and a bad case of middle school blackmail. Meet HOWARD W
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Move over Hardy Boys! Step aside Nancy Drew! There's a new detective in town: Howard Wallace and his intrepid sidekick, Ivy Mason! Wow - this book was a delight. Great voice (think hardboiled detective meets middle grade fun) and excellent banter. I loved reading this book and cheering Howard and Ivy as they worked to solve the case. (and the brown bathrobe - ha! Still chuckling about that)

The only mystery left unsolved? If there will be more Howard Wallace books. This reader really hopes that t
Jill Diamond
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book: SO. MUCH. FUN. It's been said in other reviews, but the voice in Howard Wallace, P.I. is amazing. The author does such a great job blending classic detective with middle grade kid and making it all believable, accessible, and fun to read. There is so much clever and creative language in this book, the story is tight, and the characters are lovable. I can't wait to find out what Howard and Ivy get themselves into next! ...more
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade-ya
Howard's narration is spectacular and spot-on from start to finish. A detective novel for young readers with all the right elements including chewing gum instead of cigarettes and a bike instead of a car. And Howard and Ivy's delightful dialogue crackles with humor. This book is smart and super fun—a great combination! ...more
Everly Frost
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Howard Wallace lives, breathes, and talks private investigation. The P.I. mindset oozes from his every pore. He has a number of tried and tested rules that he follows to solve cases – and solve them he does. But enter the case of the stolen school council checks along with the new girl at school and Howard has his work cut out for him.

The idea behind this book is great, and the execution and voice had me hooked the whole way through. It’s sweet and funny and the dynamic between Howard and Ivy is
Claire Fayers
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Maltese Falcon for middle-graders, this book is an absolute hoot. The author captures the voice of the world-weary, twelve-year-old detective perfectly. But it's far more than a parody of the detective genre. Howard Wallace might model himself on Sam Spade, but underneath he's his own person, defensive and stubborn, afraid of the school bullies yet brave enough to get himself into some terrific scrapes when it comes to detective work. The more I found out about him, the more I liked him. His ...more
Janet McNally
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is perfect for mini-detectives. They'll love the voice, like I did, and the fantastic detective details. Great humor, well-drawn adorable characters with believable conflict. Lyall must have read a hundred great old P.I. novels before she wrote this. She really has the lingo and the feel of a good detective story, but she also brings something fresh to the genre (not only moving it to the middle school!). Howard Wallace is totally charming and quirky, and his "junior partner" Ivy is to ...more
Mike Grosso
Aug 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A ridiculously fun mystery book populated with fantastic characters. What's so engaging here is Howard Wallace feels like a real sleuth. He's hilarious at times, but Lyall plays his character so straight and serious that his eccentricities are even more entertaining. This book is going to make a lot of kids start carrying pocket notebooks and noting clues they see in their everyday lives. ...more
Jen (Pop! Goes The Reader)
Did you find this review helpful? Find more of my reviews at Pop! Goes The Reader!

She didn’t knock, just barged through the door like she owned the place. She did own it, but that was beside the point. I knew my rights, and privacy was at the top of the list. Planting herself in the middle of the room, she scowled as her eyes swept across the floor. Dirty cups and rogue pieces of laundry were noted and filed away on her mental list of grievances. With a hand clamped over her nose, she turned to
Parry Rigney
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was delightful. Had me chuckling the whole way through. Hand to kids looking for a good detective story. I also think it could be good for fans of The Terrible Two.
Zack Kennedy
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. One of the best junior novels I've read in a while. ...more
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Some books grab you from page one and the goodness never stops. This is one of those! I was laughing from page one and more than once I had to explain to my husband what was so funny.

Howard Wallace is a young Private Investigator with an obsession for all things old school. He wears the trench coat (well, brown bathrobe), can't kick his bad habit (chewing gum), and talks just like the all the cliched detectives from the bygone movie era (Film Noir). And the voice is spot on.

So when up-and-comi
Kathy MacMillan
Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was delight from start to finish! Lyall perfectly balances a compelling mystery, fantastic characters, and a spot-on narrative voice in the form of Howard’s hard-boiled twelve-year-old detective. I knew from the reviews that this book would be funny and that I would fall in love with the characters; what I didn’t expect was how heartfelt it would also be, as it confronts head-on the issue of friendships changing – sometimes painfully – in middle school, and the drastic measures some pe ...more
Emily Montjoy
Apr 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Howard Wallace is a character many students will be able to relate to while in elementary & middle school. His two closest friends drift away, and he uses his detective work to keep him busy and keep his mind off of the loss of a friendship. A new girl moves into town and quickly partners with Howard. They work together to solve a case, and while that is their focus, they both gain a much needed new friendship. You will laugh while reading this book and cheer for the likable character, Howard Wa ...more
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-mg
Howard Wallace and his sidekick Ivy are fun characters! Love the voice and the mystery is age appropriate. Hope there will be more books featuring this duo.
Lois Sepahban
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky to read an ARC of Howard Wallace, P.I.

Reading this book was the most fun I've had with a middle grade novel in such a long time. I cry-laughed more times that I can count.

I think Howard will be a hit with bookworms and reluctant readers alike.

Huge recommendation.
Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved everything about this middle grade noir detective book! It was a true pleasure to read about Howard Wallace hoofing it through the town of Grantleyville, solving cases and snapping his gum. Hilarious dialogue, great mystery, and perfect characters.
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Casey Lyall (5 ft 4 in, brown hair, blue eyes, no known aliases) is a middle grade and picture book writer from Southwestern Ontario. She works at her local library where she waits for Management to discover they’re actually paying her to have fun. She’s a cat person with a few carefully curated dog friends, but is highly suspicious of most birds. (It’s important to know these things upfront about ...more

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