Cover image for This gum for hire : from the tattered casebook of Chet Gecko, private eye
This gum for hire : from the tattered casebook of Chet Gecko, private eye
Hale, Bruce.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Diego : Harcourt, 2002.
Physical Description:
viii, 115 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
To save his own skin, private eye Chet Gecko sets out to solve the mystery of Emerson Hicky Elementary School's disappearing football players.
General Note:
"A Chet Gecko Mystery"--verso t.p.
Reading Level:
480 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 3.6 2.0 64325.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.9 6 Quiz: 31805 Guided reading level: O.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Kidnapped! One by one, the members of Emerson Hicky's football team are disappearing. As far as Chet Gecko is concerned, this is a cause for celebration.
Only trouble is that Chet's old nemesis, Herman the Gila Monster, is the number one suspect, and he wants Chet to clear his (not quite) good name.
Chet and his mockingbird partner, Natalie Attired, must solve the case fast, or Herman will make sure it's their last. But which is more dangerous--Herman . . . or P.E. class?

Author Notes

Born near Los Angeles and currently living in Santa Barbara, Bruce Hale has written nearly 20 books. Before becoming a full time writer Hale had a variety of jobs including deejay, gardener and actor. He also lived briefly in Hawaii, inspiring the setting for his books featuring Moki the Gecko. When not writing, Hale is often speaking at schools all over the country. Hale has also taught writing workshops at several colleges and universities and in 1998 received a grant to teach and study in Thailand.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 3-5. Lizard detective Chet Gecko is back in his seventh pun-filled, elementary-school version of the hard-boiled mystery. This time it is nemesis Herman the Gila Monster who needs help. Key members of the school football team have been disappearing, so Chet and bird sidekick, Natalie Attired, enter the world of school sports and uncover an unexpected star player as well as a conspiracy to sabotage the team. It's all over-the-top when it comes to plot and humor, but youngsters who like their mysteries silly will giggle and groan their way through the painful plays on words. Recommend this to kids who enjoyed James Howe's Bunnicula novels. Catherine Andronik.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-The wisecracking fourth grader solves his sixth case. As always, Chet is aided by his mockingbird friend as they attempt to discover why the football players are disappearing just before the big game. Herman, a bulky Gila monster, asks for his help, offering both cake and restraint from bodily harm as payment. Chet and Natalie are forced to go undercover as football player and cheerleader to find the connection between a mysterious stomach ailment, bubble gum, and the water boy who didn't make the team. As in the previous books, Chet's sarcastic wit makes the story a great choice for reluctant older readers who are fans of Jon Scieszka's "Time Warp Trio" series (Viking). The humor makes this a jollier read than E. A. Hass's "Incognito Mosquito" series (Random; o.p.). Younger audiences might miss sophisticated lines such as "You can't play dumber- without a lobotomy." However, anyone will laugh at the slapstick situations. Kids will also appreciate Chet's constant desire for foods such as "greasy horsefly burritos" or "Lice Krispie treats." Black-and-white line drawings appear every few pages, depicting funny animal characters with exaggerated human characteristics.-Debbie Whitbeck, West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



1Case of the Mopey MonsterThe stink alone should have tipped me off. I was taking a brain break, just swinging on the swing set, when a serious stench grabbed me in its funky blue fist.It was strong enough to make a skunk blush.Hmm, I thought, as I whooshed forward. Cabbage and beans for breakfast?Right stink, wrong source.Something snagged me in midswing-glomp!-and there I hung, stuck in the sky.I twisted to look under the seat. An ugly mug met my gaze.Even wrong way around, I could tell: It was Herman the Gila Monster. He wasn't as big as Beijing, he wasn't as mean as a six-pack of hungry sharks. But the Big Bad Wolf could've learned something from Herman-his breath was stinky enough to melt a brick house."What's up, Herman?" I asked, coughing."You," he said.That's Gila monster humor for you.Normally, I kept my distance from the big lug. But since he'd already caught me, my best move was to play dumb.Unfortunately, you can't play dumber than Herman without a lobotomy."You wanted to see me?" I asked."Yup," he said, hoisting me by my tail. "I like talk."I almost told him, Go see a speech doctor, but it was a long way down to the ground."I talk better on my feet," I said."Okay." Herman let go my tail.The ground rushed up to meet me like a car salesman at closing time.Whonk!As I climbed to my feet, the burly Gila monster clapped a hand onto my shoulder. "We go...someplace private," Herman growled.My life flashed before me. It wasn't pretty. But it was my life, darn it, and I wanted to live to see fifth grade."Let's go to the scrofulous tree," I said. "I do my best thinking there."With a grunt, the Gila monster steered me in that direction. Two small squirrels were playing Frisbee under my favorite tree."Scram!" Herman growled.They scrammed. Herman shoved me down on the grass. I rolled and raised my fists and feet, ready to fight back. Then, with a thud like a meteorite hitting the earth, the Gila monster flopped down beside me."Gecko," he said, "I got problem.""I've been meaning to mention that," I said. "You know, a little mouthwash-""Not funny," he rumbled. "Problem big."I sat up. He was serious.I'd never figured myself as a friendly ear for school-yard thugs, but what the heck. I bit."What's on your mind?" I asked. "And I use that term loosely."Herman sighed like an avalanche on a distant mountain. "Team in trouble. Coach blame me."The Gila monster was a fearsome football player. Several times, he'd been kicked off the team for his hijinks, but he always got called back. Emerson Hicky Elementary took its sports seriously, and a monster on the front line is hard to find.Like I cared about that."So," I asked, "why tell me?"Herman's heavy head swung my way. "Players go bye-bye," he said. "Not my fault. Gecko can find players.""Oh, no," I said. "Not me."Herman moved faster than a starving toad at a fruit-fly fest. Before I could even twitch, he grabbed my ankle."Gecko will help," he growled. "Or Gecko will nee Excerpted from This Gum for Hire by Bruce Hale All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.