Nikki Neal
Created by Derek Gilbert

NIKKI NEAL is the 10-year old detective heroine of several short stories e-published at places like Booklocker and under the title, written by Derek Gilbert. As Derek says, "It's not the New York Times bestseller list, but it's a start."

Here it is, straight from the author's mouth::

"I envision Nikki Neal as a 10-year-old Sherlock Holmes--smart and focused, to the point where she's a bit of an annoyance to her fourth-grade teacher and considered odd by most of the kids at her school.

Her best friend--mostly because she's one of the few kids who doesn't think he's weird for reading a lot--is her neighbor, Paul Bailey. He wears glasses and he's a bit chunky, factors which don't weigh in your favor in the daily schoolyard power games.

Nikki sort of drags Paul along as she tries solves the problems that catch her interest, and he reluctantly becomes Watson to her Holmes.

My goal is to throw problems at Nikki that are a little more realistic than what I read in the Encyclopedia Brown stories. They were great, but as a villain, Bugs Meany is bit outdated. He'd be a model student in a lot of schools today."

Here's the promo blurb Derek submitted to Booklocker:

"It's pretty much a fact that Nikki Neal is the smartest kid in our school. In fact, I'd bet that she's the smartest kid anywhere.

Her dad calls her Sherlock. I guess that makes me Watson.

My name is Paul Bailey and I live in a small town called Ellendale, Missouri. I go to Harry S. Truman Elementary with Nikki. We're in Mrs. Thomas's 4th grade class together.

Nikki Neal doesn't look like anyone special--well, not like you'd think somebody who's super-smart would look. I mean she doesn't LOOK like a total geek. She's kind of tall for a girl with sort of grayish-green eyes--she says they're hazel--and straight blonde hair that's not short, but it's not real long, either. She keeps tucking it behind her ears, especially when she's thinking which is most of the time. Mom calls her "a very pretty young lady."

I don't know. I guess.

She's not like the other girls I know. Most of them are only interested in Leo or the "Backstreet Boys." Not that Nikki doesn't like music or anything, even if what she likes is sort of weird. I mean, she's the only kid I know who can even spell "Beethoven," and she listens to his music without even being told. She says a song called "Ode To Joy" is her favorite.

Nikki says Beethoven was a genius, especially because he was deaf when he wrote some of his music and couldn't even hear when people gave him a standing ovation once at a really big concert. He just heard how all the parts of the songs fit together inside his head.

I think Nikki is like that sometimes--she can see how the parts fit together, even when no one else can. I should tell you she especially likes solving puzzles.

That's what got us into the detective business."

Derek Gilbert has been a Top 40 disc jockey, a real estate agent, the manager of a tuxedo shop and a steel pipe salesman. He lives near St. Louis with his beautiful wife Sharon, his daughter Nicole, three happy dogs and Braveheart, the Birdseed-Eating Chipmunk.


  • "Four stars!" (The Kids Editor at


  • "Nikki Neal and the Mystery of the Stolen Card" (2000)*
  • "Nikki Neal and the Mystery of the Empty House" (2000)*
  • "Nikki Neal and the Mystery of the Lost Lunches" (2000)*
  • "Nikki Neal and the Mystery of the Stolen Homework" (2000)
    * Included in Nikki Neal: Back Porch Detective


  • Nikki Neal: Back Porch Detective (2000)

The Nikki Neal stories can be found at:


Thanks to Derek Gilbert for the heads up on this one. Best of luck!

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