Charlotte Illes Is Not A Detective

Book Review

Charlotte Illes Is Not A Detective by Katie Siegel
Mystery | Fiction | LGBTQ

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Calling all those who spent their childhood dreaming of being a detective! Charlotte Illes Is Not A Detective is the debut novel by Katie Siegel — based upon her popular TikTok web series, featuring a former child detective called out of retirement for one last case!

Reader’s Thoughts:

Like many mystery lovers, my childhood was spent firmly ensconced in the pages of a Nancy Drew novel. And while I dreamed of solving cases of my own, unfortunately, my parents never had any mysteries more exciting than missing socks… So, when I read the premise for Charlotte Illes Is Not A Detective, I knew this was a novel I needed to get my hands on.

Charlotte Illes is a former child detective who is now feeling lost. But when her old blue phone rings again, she decides to solve one last case. With the help of her best friends, Lucy and Gabe, she’s out to catch a killer – and perhaps, learn a little more about herself along the way.

This book was a fun read. The banter between Charlotte and her friends, Lucy and Gabe was entertaining, witty, and really evoked the feeling of hanging out with lifelong, best friends. Each of these characters were well-developed, and the relationships between Charlotte, her friends, and her family, were what I enjoyed most about the novel.

However, while the book started out really strong, I struggled to care about the actual mystery itself. The second half of the book felt very slow as Charlotte was constantly interviewing suspects – albeit in various settings – and there was very little action. While I loved the above-mentioned banter, I was conflicted as this often drew out the scenes and took away from building the mystery aspect of the plot. While I enjoy corporate mysteries, this one felt underdeveloped and ultimately, failed to capture my attention.

That being said, the writing itself was fresh and fun, and the characters and premise made this novel worth sticking around until the end. There were many moments within the novel that brought a smile to my face, and I know that fans of Siegel’s work on TikTok will certainly appreciate seeing Charlotte Illes hit the bookshelves!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Recommended for:

Readers looking for a fun story with strong friendships

This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Advance copy of the book provided courtesy of Penguin Random House Canada. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the book:

For anyone seeking to satisfy their Harriet the Spy or Encyclopedia Brown nostalgia, this modern, witty debut based on the popular @katiefliesaway TikTok series stars a twentysomething former kid detective who’s coaxed out of retirement for one last case.

The downside about being a famous child detective is that sooner or later, you have to grow up . . .

As a kid, Charlotte Illes’ uncanny sleuthing abilities made her a minor celebrity. But in high school, she hung up her detective’s hat and stashed away the signature blue landline in her “office”—aka garage—convinced that finding her adult purpose would be as easy as tracking down missing pudding cups or locating stolen diamonds.

Now 25, Charlotte has a nagging fear that she hit her peak in middle school. She’s living with her mom, scrolling through job listings, and her love life consists mostly of first dates. When it comes to knowing what to do next, Charlotte hasn’t got a clue.

And then, her old blue phone rings . . .

Reluctantly, Charlotte is pulled back into the mystery-solving world she knew—just one more time. But that world is a whole lot more complicated for an adult. As a kid, she was able to crack the case and still get her homework done on time. Now she’s dealing with dead bodies, missing persons, and villains who actually see her as a viable threat. And the detective skills she was once so eager to never use again are the only things that can stop a killer ready to make sure her next retirement is permanent . . .

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