A Hitch at the Fairmont by Jim Averbeck is a middle grade mystery that takes place at San Francisco’s Fairmont hotel in the 1950s. The creepy, mysterious tone of the book is established right from the very first chapter where our main character, Jack, winds up checking out the dead bodies in the basement of the funeral home where his mother’s funeral is being held. When Jack is taken to live with his hideously (and hilariously) evil aunt at the Fairmont hotel, who should he happen to meet but the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock, right in time to help investigate Jack’s aunt’s very sudden disappearance.
The writing is vivid and cinematic, with witty dialogue, clever theatre-related metaphors, interspersed with action and slapstick comedy. Jack’s pathetic predicament instantly captures the heart, and the eponymous Hitch is a wonderfully fleshed-out character. The text is accompanied by storyboard style illustrations which, while captivating and completely appropriate to the story, were a little confusing in their placement at times. If there is any real drawback to the story, it is the length. At 400 pages, this is a whopper of a book, but for the most part the pacing is good, and the premise is so intriguing it’s fun anyway.
A must-read for cozy middle grade mystery fans.
PS Don’t miss the list of Hitchcock films at the back. I’m going to have to re-watch some of these!
Disclaimer: Review of ARC received free from the publisher.