The Tracer Family
Created by Jeff Andrus
Murder, With Kids?
The Partridge P.I.s?
THE TRACER FAMILY, consisting of Mom, Dad and kids, are all part of the team, and they all do their share of investigating.
Former human resources hotshot John Tracer, suddenly out of a job, and his wife Chris, an under-employed temp, decide to set up a detective agency, asnd enlist their kids, snarky teenage daughter Shorty and her younger brother Bratty (I mean Brad) in the cause. Which is more cute than believable, given none of them really have much talent when it comes to detective work.
But that's where the charm is supposed to come in, as we watch John and his endearing crew bumble their way through their (often surprisingly dark) cases with much enthusiasm and hardly a clue in the world.
The weird thing is that, sometimes it works. As Emily Melton pointed out in Booklist when the first book, Tracer, Inc. came out in 1994, "While the story is not without humor and even originality, it's reliance on sitcomlike cuteness will strike many readers as unbearably cloying. But so was the ridiculously popular Beverly Hillbillies. Buy carefully."
There was a sequel, Neighbourhood Watch (1996), but once again the uneven mix of domestic shenanigans and nastiness failed to capture the public's imagination, despite generally more favourable reviews.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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