HarperCollins Children’s Books has bought seven titles about a child detective from British author Andrew Clover and US based illustrator Ralph Lazar, following a “hotly contested auction”.
Harriet Wilson, editorial director at HarperCollins UK, acquired world rights for the titles by the “transatlantic dream team” from Sam Copeland at Rogers, Coleridge and White. The series is about a nine-year-old sleuth “in the grand Sherlock Holmes style”.
Rory Branagan, Detective is billed as a “laugh aloud, genre defining crime series” aimed at readers aged from eight to 12. The central character is the “best detective in town” aided by accomplice Cassady Callaghan, and Wilkins Welkin, the first ever detective-sausage dog.
The series will launch in 2018, with three books a year to “feed demand with these fast moving, hilarious new stories”. A Facebook page dedicated to the hero was launched earlier this year which now has 118,000 followers.
Clover and Lazar met when they were neighbours in London. Clover is a comic, actor and writer who starred as in CBBC’s “My Almost Famous Family”. Lazar is a South African illustrator, now based in California, and worked on a number of titles including the Brainwave series (DK) which has been translated into 22 languages.
Wilson said: “Rory is a detective in the grand Sherlock Holmes style – taking on the criminal underworld and winning. But he’s also a nine-year-old, bringing down crime lords using a ping-pong bat, rope swings and a trampoline. This is a funny, original, humdinger of a series."