Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Detective Agency no 2

by Jorn Lier Horst, Norway

I have my own Detective Agency. It`s called Detective Agency number 2. The Agency is run by Tiril and Oliver. Together with the sleuthhound Otto, they make surprising revelations and find unexpected solutions. So far they have solved seven cases.

Detective Agency No. 2 from Sandnes Media AS on Vimeo.

When I decided to write books for children, it was because I had a desire to recreate some of the childish reading pleasure I myself had experienced. I wrote the first books with great reverence.
 It is a big responsibility to give someone their first reading experience. First impressions are very important, and the experiences you have as a child will be crucial in whether you remain a reader for life.

Reading is important. It's about understanding. To open a book is to open a world of possibilities. Opportunities for new experiences, new discoveries and new insights. In addition to enable us to understand reality better, the literature also let us escape from reality. From time immemorial one of the key elements of storytelling was to entertain. As entertainment has crime fiction a special vitality that takes the reader through some exciting and makes him or her unable to forget everything around him.

The riddle in a crime novel challenges the child intellectually, while the exciting story leads the reader forward. All people have an inherent power that seeks equilibrium and clarity in the face of mysteries. A curiosity that is perhaps stronger in children than in adults, and causes them to move forward. A detective story provide the child wanting to read more. The desire to read make it easier to understand difficult words, witch give fluency in reading and improve reading comprehension. As they become better at reading and the vocabulary increases, the interest in reading is stimulated further, and the books are not only a source of joy, but also of knowledge and understanding.

I am often asked about the difference between writing crime for children and writing crime novels for adults. The answer is that the writing has a lot in common. I work the same way with the script, whether for young or adult readers: with the utmost seriousness.

Rivertown is a cozy smalltown, but whenever cracks appear in the idyllic surface, Oliver and Tracy get going. Together with the sleuthhound Otto, they make surprising revelations and find unexpected solutions. 
Sometimes it feels easier to write for young people, other times it feels more difficult. Both the language and the plots are often slightly easier in children's books. The stories do not have as many teams, there are not so many astray and clues to keep track of, not so many metaphors, subtitles and things that are told between the lines. Children are unpredictable, and it does so in many ways a relief to have them as main characters in a crime novel. They do not have the same experience or reason as adults who can stand in the way of action. They do not think twice before they climb over a fence or enters a dangerous situation, and because they think they know everything, they rarely ask for help. It makes it easier to create momentum in action. Nevertheless, it may actually be more difficult to write for young people. You write for a very specific age group that is at a different level than yourself and with a vocabulary that is still under development.

When I released my first children's book, I hit something that I no longer believed existed: a void. A free space in the bookshelves where it was an unmet need. Among vampires, monsters, bloodsuckers and things going on in parallel universes or far into a bleak future was also room for the traditional detective story. Yet it is not a goal for me that children should read crime. I think of crime books as a means to achieve something more. Reading is the most important skill we can transmit to our children, and if children can enjoy books they have big chances for success later in life.

And if you're wondering why it's called Detective Agency no. 2, the answer is that they actually had no name for their agency, but only made a sign hung on the wall that read "Detective Agency". But then they live in Baker Street no 2, so that the house number was standing beside the sign. Thus, it was "Detective Agency no. 2". But they found out that it was perfectly okay, because sometimes being number 2 more than good enough. At least if you've done the best you can.

The books are illustrated by Hans Jørgen Sandnes.



  1. Where can I get your books for my grandchildren? Okay, Jørn, I admit it: I'm using my grandkids as a cover for my own desires...I'm in love with Otto.:)

  2. Are there plans to release these in English?

    Also, is there any hope of your first five novels being translated into English? (Well, there's always hope, I guess I should ask if there are any plans...? :-)

  3. Sounds wonderful, Jørn! Can I echo both Jeff and EvKa, and ask if/when they're going to be translated? Zxx

  4. I need Otto the sleuthhound. Instead I have Mathilda, the thief hound.

  5. I need Otto the sleuthhound. Instead I have Mathilda, the thief hound.

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