Great Illustrated Books

Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator (Gilda Joyce series)

By Jennifer Allison

Dutton Juvenile, 2005
Pages : 336
Suggested Ages: 10 & Up
ISBN: 9780525473756

Thirteen-year-old Gilda Joyce has been interested in surveillance ever since reading Harriet the Spy back in elementary school. One of her plans for her boring summer vacation is to continue spying on Plaid Pants, AKA Hector Flack, who works at the convenience store and whom Gilda thinks could be a serial killer. (He’s not.) Her favorite possession is the old Underwood manual typewriter her father gave her before he died of cancer two years ago. She likes to imagine that her father's spirit is inside the typewriter, encouraging her to write. She misses him a lot. After announcing to her eighth-grade English class that she will be going to San Francisco for the summer and writing a novel, Gilda must figure out a way to make that happen. A great believer in the power of psychic gifts to solve crimes, Gilda finagles an invitation to visit Mr. Lester Splinter, a distant uncle, to his run-down Victorian mansion. There she meets her reclusive and unfriendly cousin, Juliet, a morbid and doleful girl who claims to have seen the ghost of her dead Aunt Melanie, her father's younger sister, who jumped to her death from the house's tower ten years before. This funny and spooky novel delves into the psyches of both girls, but it's Gilda's quirky, frank, over-the-top personality that sparkles.

Read aloud the letter Gilda sends to Mr. Splinter, describing herself as "highly intelligent, self-sufficient, polite, neat, ambitious, energetic, lice-free, and, of course, quiet." (She most definitely is not quiet.) Readers will laugh out loud at Gilda's wild antics, crazy disguises, and her hunches, bolstered by her dog-eared copy of “The Master Psychic's Handbook”. The series continues with Gilda Joyce: The Ladies of the Lake and Gilda Joyce: The Ghost Sonata.

Reviewed by : JF.


If you love this book, then try:

Allison, Jennifer. Gilda Joyce: The Ghost Sonata. Dutton, 2005.

Allison, Jennifer. Gilda Joyce: The Ladies of the Lake. Dutton, 2005.

Bath, K. P. The Secret of Castle Cant. Little, Brown, 2004.

Broach, Elise. Shakespeare's Secret. Henry Holt, 2005.

Byars, Betsy. Dead Letter: A Herculeah Jones Mystery. Viking, 1996.

Choldenko, Gennifer. Al Capone Does My Shirts. Putnam, 2004.

Choldenko, Gennifer. Notes from a Liar and Her Dog. Putnam, 2001.

Emerson, Scott. The Case of the Cat with the Missing Ear. (The Adventures of Samuel Blackthorne, Book One) Simon & Schuster, 2003.

Fitzhugh, Louise. Harriet the Spy. Delacorte, 2000, c1964.

Hiaasen, Carl. Flush. Knopf, 2005.

Lisle, Janet Taylor. How I Became a Writer and Oggie Learned to Drive. Philomel, 2002.

Springer, Nancy. The Case of the Missing Marquess: An Enola Holmes Mystery. Philomel, 2006.

Critics have said

Whether dressed in a formal gown for a seance or attempting to channel her father's spirit through the keys of his typewriter, Gilda's earnest and wacky personality accompanied by her dry wit make this an amusing as well as suspenseful mystery. Surprisingly spooky.

Teens are sure to connect with irrepressible Gilda, whose companion in many adventures is the Underwood typewriter given to her by her father upon his death two years ago.
Childrens Literature

Let's hope Gilda also returns in another psychic mystery that needs her gutsy, brash attention.
School Library Journal