Tag Archive for The Case of the Million Dollar Mystery

Fan Mail Wednesday #310: Emir Calls My Book a “Literary Wonder” — I Take the Rest of the Day Off

A reader, Emir, wrote a nice letter about a Jigsaw Jones book, The Case of the Million-Dollar Mystery. By way of background, somebody in room 201 has been leaving behind anonymous notes that read:

It’s time for Jigsaw and Mila to figure out who’s behind these mysterious notes. Let’s move on to Emir’s letter . . . 

Dear Mr Preller,

I am writing to you to express my great appreciation for the book which you have written called The Case of the Million-Dollar Mystery.

I have found the book to be fascinating and absorbing. I like mysterious stories which keeps me eager to read. I was very curious and excited throughout the story and I was really surprised at the end. I really enjoyed reading about Jigsaw and Mila’s mysterious mission. Also the way they inspected and found the suspect was brilliant. The illustrations of the book were actually really helpful to recognize the character and to visualize the plot.

Illustration by Jamie Smith.

Additionally the book gives a really good message to the reader. I think giving such a good message like be a better person through an interesting story is a brilliant idea. The girl in the story makes an experiment to invent goodness and it works, that raises awareness of being a better person
Again, I would just like to express my deepest thanks that you created this literary wonder which has raised my awareness about being a better a person.

I replied . . .


Thank you so much for your kind letter. I’m glad that I managed to surprise you at the end.
And wow, you called my book a “literary wonder” — what a fine compliment! I’m just going to take the rest of the day off. Sit by the bird feeder and see who flies by.
You inspired me to pull that book off the shelf and read the last few lines:
“I looked around at the class. Everybody seemed happy, smiling, laughing together. Eddie had his invention back. He seemed happy, even if it didn’t turn out to be a million-dollar idea. And there, sitting quietly at her desk, was Geetha.
Just watching.
Maybe we can invent goodness after all. I guess it’s like a jigsaw puzzle. Or a mystery.
Just one piece at a time.
We’ll all get there, together, one step at a time.”
Well, here we are, years after I first wrote those words, and I still think they are true. One day. One person. One kind thought at a time.
I believe your letter, Emir, your small kindness, brings us all a little closer to that dream.
Have a great summer, my friend!
James Preller

Fan Mail Wednesday #126 (Across Shared Solitudes)

Here’s one from Matthew . . .

Hello Mr. Preller. First of all, I love your books. I was wondering what inspired you to write your awesome books? How old were you when you began writing? I like the Jigsaw Jones series the best. My favorite is The Case of the Million Dollar Mystery. With a million dollars on the line, I was so nervous the case wouldn’t be solved in time. I love books that keep me turning the pages just to see what happens, and this was definitely one of them. Thanks for taking the time to read this and thanks for writing such great books!
I replied . . .
Thanks for your kind letter. It means a lot to me when readers take the time to reach out. It’s funny. As authors, we write in solitude, alone in a silent room (actually, I’m blasting the new Wilco CD right now). Reading is also a silent, solitary act. Yet somehow we communicate across those shared solitudes. You and me, together. Amazing.
When I was young, I used to make little comic books and sell them to the folks in my neighborhood. But in truth, I didn’t get serious about writing until college. That’s when I gradually came to love books, love reading: it fit my personality. At a certain point, I decided to try it for myself. Why not?
The curious thing is, I’m shy about certain things. I never want to embarrass myself, and that prevents me from being much of a risk-taker. For example, I never had the courage to act in a school play; I never dove off the high diving board in the town pool, worried that I might belly flop in front of so many people. Public dancing? Scary. But writing was something I could do by myself, in perfect safety. I could write and not share it with anyone. There was no one to laugh at me, poke fun at my failings.
So as writers, you and I can try new things, take new risks, without the worry of what others might think. Eventually, when you are ready (and not a moment before!), you might share your writing with a trusted friend or adult. Somehow that process worked for me, the boy who was always a little too concerned about what other people might think.
My best,