Author of ‘Curious League of Detectives and Thieves’ returns to Winter Park

In the middle grade book "S.O.S.," a young detective-in-training and his mentor set sail on a cruise ship through the skies. Aboard the flying ship, the pair must stop a nefarious thief and a sneaky monkey.
Mountain Shire Books & Gifts/Courtesy Image

Readers who eagerly follow the adventures of “The Curious League of Detectives and Thieves” can look forward to meeting the man behind the mystery series Nov. 10.

Children’s book author Tom Phillips will give a reading of his second book in the “Curious League” installment at Mountain Shire Books & Gifts, located at Cooper Creek Square in Winter Park.

Phillips’ second book is titled “S.O.S.” and will be available for signing and purchase at the event, which starts at 1 p.m. Phillip’s first book, “Egypt’s Fire,” introduces aspiring sleuth, 11-year-old John Boarhog. His mentor is a brilliant detective, Toadius McGee. The series follows the eccentric pair as they track down criminal mastermind the Mauve Moth, and a sneaky monkey named Shim-Sham.

In “S.O.S.,” John and Detective McGee set sail on a luxury cruise liner with a twist – this ship navigates the sky, instead of the sea. The two sleuthers climb aboard Her Majesty’s Royal Air Armada, determined to stop the Mauve Moth and Shim-Sham before they commit their next heist. On the journey, John’s mettle is also tested by the Society of Sleuths (S.O.S.), to determine if he can join crime-solving committee.

The Curious League series features a mischievous, thieving monkey named Shim-Sham. Monkeys are Phillips’ favorite animal, so he incorporated them into his mystery series.
Rudy Meyers Photography/Courtesy Photo

Phillips said he had a lot of fun writing the series, which follows in the likes of “Harry Potter,” “A Series of Unfortunate Events” or “Enola Holmes.”

“I wrote it for reluctant readers to get kids into reading and enjoy it. Kids are up for anything, so it’s really fun to write a zany adventure for kids that pushes their reading level,” Phillips said in a 2022 interview with Sky-Hi News during the publication of his first book. 

The middle-grade books are geared towards kids ages 8-13, but even older readers can enjoy the mysteries, which are inspired by adult authors such as Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Phillips has 12 books planned for the action-packed series. Each book is a different play on the mystery genre, and will immerse kids in a fantastical world. Readers follow clues to solve the mystery alongside the protagonist.

“The first book is a museum jewel thief caper. The second one is a murder on a ship, the third one is like India Jones, the fourth one is a prison break. They’re classic plot lines of mystery to introduce kids to the genre,” said Phillips. 

Phillips currently lives in Los Angeles but was born and raised in Grand Lake. During his 2022 book tour for “Egypt’s Fire,” Phillips made Mountain Shire his first stop, because of his Grand County roots. Now with his second book, Phillips will return to the bookstore to meet current fans who attended his last event, as well as new readers ready to dive into “The Curious League.”

“Now John had seen many wondrous things in the last month of his life, but none of it could compare to the massive vessel floating at the end of pier 86. The ship must have been three football fields long and nine floors high. Its white hull reflected the sun, making the entire vessel glow as if it were protected by a magical force field.”

Excerpt from the second chapter of “S.O.S.,” as John boards the ship

About the author, from the publisher

As a dyslexic child, Phillips eagerly listened to any story his mom or older sister would tell him. Today, he writes books that kids can not only enjoy on their own, but also can be read aloud and shared. Tom employs his passion for storytelling as an artist and video editor in Los Angeles, California. His work includes editing for the acclaimed LeVar Burton Kids, and he is currently at work on a screenplay for a major studio. An armchair detective and Sherlockian, he is an obsessive watcher of crime dramas. Tom can often be found walking his dog, Dr. Watson, with his wife Autumn.

This will be Phillips’ second time to visit Mountain Shire for his “Curious League” book tour.
Mountain Shire Books & Gifts/Courtesy Photo
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