Tag Archive for The Case of the Double Trouble Detectives

Fan Mail Wednesday #251: Gone Fishing!



This one took a slightly smelly detour . . .

Scan (1)

I replied:


Dear Brandon:

I read and enjoyed your letter. Then, when I wasn’t looking, my wife threw the envelope in the trash.

Don’t blame her, she’s a neat freak. Always tidying up. But I was like, “Honey, dearest, where’s the envelope that came with this letter? I need that return address.”

Anyway, long story short, I rolled up my sleeves and fished it out of the garbage can. Pretty much disgusting, if you ask me. But you’re letter was worthy of a reply.



You wrote a thoughtful review of The Case of the Runaway Dog. Excellent and observant! I’m glad you liked it.

To answer your question: Yes! There is a new Jigsaw Jones book coming out this August, The Case from Outer Space. And by November, there will be 8 “classroom classics” newly available –- revised and updated.

51i1BhhTBDL._SX318_BO1,204,203,200_You suggested a story where two detectives verse each other to see who can solve the case first. Well, I think I wrote one similar to your idea, titled The Case of the Double Trouble Detectives. In that story, rich-kid Reginald Pinkerton Armitage starts a rival detective agency. But as Jigsaw says to him, “Sure, you’re as rough as a pussycat. Why in the world do you want to get mixed up in this racket?”

Good luck tracking it down! It’s been out of print for a few years. Maybe you can find it in your library or on eBay. But never fear, there’s lots more Jigsaw Jones coming out soon!

My best,

James Preller



“Best Day Ever”: A Chance Meeting at the Dublin Literacy Conference

This is Sreelakshmi. I met her at the Dublin Literacy Conference in late February. I was cooling my heels in the hallway of a cavernous high school, chatting with librarian Bill Prosser, waiting for the attendees to filter into the room before my session, cleverly titled “Meet Author James Preller.” A group of three high school girls who were working as volunteers stopped outside the room. One ducked her head inside, curious.
Bill asked if they needed help. Sreelakshmi told him that she was looking for James Preller. Bill jerked a thumb in my direction as if to say, “Sorry to disappoint you, but this is James Preller standing right here.”
Sreelakshmi turned to me, flustered and speechless. Disbelieving, even — her breath short and shallow. Tears began to roll down her cheeks. Finally, in fits and spurts, she told me how she still remembers reading those books, how much they meant to her,  how she had no idea that I would be at the conference.
How this was now officially the best day in her life.
I almost cried myself. As an author, I don’t normally (read: ever!) get that kind of reaction. A reader so moved. We hugged, took a picture, and talked for a few minutes. Later we were able to visit some more. A kind teacher, George the Humorous, bought a book for her — I stupidly didn’t think of it — and I signed it. I am sure that her reaction says more about Sreelakshmi than it does about me or my books. She was touched by literature, moved by books, and it will always be that way for her. She is, you see, a reader. The genuine article. I’m glad about that, glad that I somehow played a role in that awakening, glad to be blessed so.
Later that day, I received an email that included the photo above.
Hello Mr.Preller!

It’s me again, the girl from Dublin who cried tears of joy to meet the author of a book series she loved as kid. It was amazing meeting you at the Literacy Conference today. Who’d have thought a day of volunteering for NHS would become the best day of my life thus far? I certainly did not.

I want to thank you, again, for writing those books. Honestly, it was books like yours that made me love reading so much. I clearly remember reading The Case of the Rainy Day Mystery in third grade. It was such a good book that I went to the library for more, and every time I’d go to a new library (unfortunately, I’ve moved around a lot.), the Jigsaw Jones books were among the first books I’d look for. Your books made me smile and think about the mysteries — I always had a hard time figuring them out 🙂 . I still have a bit of a soft spot for mystery novels because of Jigsaw.

You know, I opened up The Case of the Double Trouble Detectives again, and I still found myself reading it through cover to cover. It’s been nearly ten years since I first read one of your books, but I still love them. Thank you for writing stories that I will love for the rest of my life. Jigsaw has been as real to me as my classmates in elementary school.

Thanks again for inspiring me to read,

No, thank you, Sreelakshmi. I will always remember you and your incredible reaction, I’m so happy we got the chance to meet.

Fan Mail Wednesday #133: Anger Issues, or, Ray Liotta Writes a Letter

The writer of this piece of fan mail has anger issues. Clearly.

And who can blame him? I get mad at bad books, too. I sigh, grumble, throw them against the wall in disgust, shouting over and over again, “Redeculous! Totally Dumb!”

Which sounds, I now plainly hear, like a spell from Harry Potter. Redeculous. A cousin to those great Don Martin sound effects: Zoink! Splurch!

I digress . . .

I replied to the letter, but my response isn’t not really worth reading.

But the above letter? That right there is awesomeness. A treasure.

And no, it was not written by Ray Liotta.

Ray Liotta did not write the above

letter. But I’d like to think he did.

Fan Mail Wednesday #132: A Plain Person

I’ve heard a lot of positive comments about the “Fan Mail Wednesday” feature, now going on its fourth year. But of late, I haven’t been sharing too many. I’ve been answering mail, doing my duty, just not posting it on the blog. As much as I appreciate the mail, and am grateful for every letter, there can be a sameness to the letters. And my responses strike me as routine, boring.

Other times, a sentence just makes me smile . . .

I replied:

Dear Alex:

Thanks for your great letter, and the SASE, and for — I hope — your patience. I know it took a little too long for my reply. Sorry about that.

Am I a detective or a plain person?

Ah, sadly, I am plain as plain can be, a sorry scoop of vanilla ice cream. A dad, mostly, with three great kids. A husband. A baseball coach, a fan in the stands, a chauffeur, and a lousy cook.

I used to think that writers had to have extraordinary, amazing lives. But I’ve learned that we all have amazing lives — some are quieter than others, of course — but all that matters is how we RESPOND to our lives, our world.

Every day, we should say, at least once . . . WOW.

For a writer, the most important stuff happens between the ears, and in the heart.

My best,

James Preller

Fan Mail Wednesday: Thursday Extravaganza Edition, #’s 36-38

Every morning, after I have my cup of coffee, push the kids out the door, and delete my daily email from moveon.org, I like to gather up my accumulated fan mail, pour the letters on my bed, and roll around in them. For forty-five minutes.

Don’t look at me like that. It’s aerobic.

Sometimes, I even get around to answering a few:

Letter #36

Dear Mr. Preller,
I read a Jigsaw Jones book titled The Case of the Golden Key. I liked it because I liked the part where Jigsaw Jones, Mila, and Reginald were looking for the golden key. I also liked this book because I love the illustrations. I loved all the words because some were descriptive.
Kailey C.

I replied:

Dear Kailey,

Thanks for that nice note. I enjoyed writing that book, partly because it’s the first time I “met” the richest kid in town, Reginald Pinkerton Armitage III. I liked writing about him so much, I kept coming up with reasons for sticking him in other books. I even gave him a featured part in The Case of the Double Trouble Detectives, when Reginald starts his own rival, high-tech detective agency. I love the cover that artist R.W. Alley came up with:

I’m glad you liked the part when they were searching the attic. There’s just something cool about attics, don’t you think? I’m glad, too, that you liked my writing. I try to stick in a “descriptive” word every now and then!


Letter #37

James or Mr.Preller
I love your books.
What made you want to write books?
I saw your family on your web site and your dog is soooooooooooo cute.

From Emma S.

PLEASE WRITE BAAAAAAAACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I replied:


I am so excited you wrote!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s like soooooooo totally awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, let me calm down. I’ll make some tea, listen to my new Elvis Perkins CD. What made me want to write books? Well, I guess it’s because I loved reading, loved books. In college, I started writing seriously — I had a great teacher, Pat Meanor, who really inspired me. I think he was the first person who gave me the feeling that maybe I had something in me that needed to come out. That maybe, just maybe, I was a writer. It’s such a great thing when you can find that person who believes in you, no matter what path you pursue in life. Even today, at age 48, I still need that faith, still need that support from an editor, or a friend. We ALL do. In fact, it’s one of the best gifts we can give someone, when we say to them, “I know you can do it.” I coach Little League baseball, and more than anything else, I see that as my primary job: I’m the guy who stands there and believes.

And yes, I agree. My dog is very, very cute.


Letter 38, Part 1

Hello, James:

We are Ane G., Maddi, Leire, Sara, Sabiñe and Ane Go. We like your books, especially Jigsaw Jones books! Maddi and Leire have read them all! You must write more!

We want you to visit us but Neva, our school librarian, does not have enough money to pay you.

It took us a long time to write this, we needed some help. Write back!


I replied:

Dear Ane G, Maddi,, Leire, Sara, Sabine, and Ane Go:

What a fantastic photo, thanks for sending that. And thanks, too, for reading my books.

Such interesting, beautiful names: Where do you go to school?

As an author, my job mostly keeps me at home, working in my basement office. While school visits are a lot of fun, they do keep me away from my main job — which is sitting alone in an empty room, trying to write. With deadlines to meet, a wife that works, and three busy children (ages 8, 9, and 15), it’s hard for me to do many school visits, though I do about one every week in March, April, and May.

Thank you for writing to me!


And got this answer!

Letter 38, Part2

Dear James:

Thanks for writing back so soon! We were very surprised but it has taken us longer to be together again than we thought.

You díd not say when you are going to write another Jigsaw Jones book. Can you recommend any other book, a special one for you?

We go to Deustuko Ikastola, it is in Bilbao, in the Basque Country, in northern Spain. We speak Basque but we also speak Spanish. Have you got any book in Basque?

Good bye. Looking forward to hearing from you! Good luck with your next book!

I replied:

Hello ladies!

I hope you don’t mind that I put your photo up here on my blog. Basque Country, wow, that’s so cool. I traveled in Spain once, years ago, Madrid and Barcelona and along the western coast (where I remember seeing a lot of sun-burnt German tourists). Amazing, beautiful country.

You know, there are so many great books to read, I hesitate to recommend just one. But that would be a boring answer and I try — I really try — to not sound too awfully dull. So: My daughter Maggie (8) and I very much enjoyed reading The Doll People by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin. If you like that book, there are a couple of sequels: The Meanest Doll in the World and The Runaway Dolls. The stories are well-written, full of mystery and adventure and, oh yeah, dolls that are alive. But pretty much anything by Ann M. Martin is great.

Okay, Bilbao, I see you up there in the mountains, close to the ocean. Do you call that the Bay of Biscay? I’ve changed my mind: I do want to come for an author visit! Tell Neva the Librarian to do a bake sale or something! I’ll be waiting at the airport.

Your friend in Delmar, New York, America . . .