Chet Gecko

Created by Bruce Hale

“It was a hot day in September. The kind of day when kindergartners wake up cranky from their naps.”
Chet sets the scene in The Chameleon Wore Chartreuse

It’s not enough that the gumshoe is in grade four? He’s also got to be a lizard, too?

Even if I hadn’t already spilled the beans, you might have guessed from his name (plus the illustration right over there, a pretty big clue in itself), that CHET GECKO, Emerson Hicky Elementary School’s pride and joy is, well, a gecko. We are definitely not in Kansas anymore.

But it’s a great way to help get your cooler kids onto the right reading track. If they’re in grade three or four, and not quite ready for Chandler, why not get ’em going with adventures from “The Tattered Casebook of Chet Gecko, Private Eye”?

And there are plenty of painful puns and dastardly double entendres to keep parents amused, as well. Just check out the titles: The Big Nap? Farewell, My Lunchbag? The Chameleon Wore Chartreuse? Plus, the books are loaded with witty black-and-white drawings. Obviously writer/illustrator Bruce Hale is having some kinda fun here.

Your kids might, too.

In The Big Nap, for example, Chet and his fellow ops, Natalie Attired (a bird) and Waldo (some sort of, uh, furry thing) must stop all the kids from being turned into zombies. It turns out the villain is a weasel. As in literally a weasel.

And judging from the author’s dead-on hard-boiled prose style (“Dames. Whether they thought you were a good boy or a bad boy, they always spelled trouble.”), he’s also a fan.

The kids may not know Hammett from a hole in the ground, but the private eye has become such a part of our culture that most kids (or at least yours) will get the joke.

Bruce Hale is the author of five picture books as well as the Chet Gecko mysteries. A popular speaker, teacher, and storyteller for children and adults, he was awarded a Fulbright grant in 1998 to teach storytelling and to study folklore in Thailand. He currently lives in Santa Barbara, CA. Or at least, that’s what his publishers want us to believe. So far, the rumours that Bruce Hale is a pseudonym of James Ellroy remain unconfirmed…


  • “Beginning readers especially will appreciate the offbeat, likable cast and quirky comedy.”
    — Publishers Weekly


  • “Never take on a wacko as a client…”
    — Murder, My Tweet
  • “Dames. Whether they thought you were a good boy or a bad boy, they always spelled trouble.”



  • Chet Gecko’s Detective Handbook: Tips for Private Eyes and Snack Food Lovers (2005) Buy this book



Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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