The Great Chicken Mystery (2016) by Melanie Joyce

Today’s read is somewhat of a deviation from Cross Examining Crime’s usual hunting ground. I received this book on my birthday. The gift sender saw the title and knowing my love of chickens and mysteries thought this was an ideal book. What they didn’t notice until it arrived in the post, was the smaller than usual page count… (N.B. 24 pages) However, knowing I would see the funny side they gave it to me anyways, and they were quite keen it still got a review on the blog. So I thought well it’s Christmas, so why not?*

Here is what the book is about…

‘On Bluebell Farm, the chickens are mysteriously disappearing! When Foxy is accused of stealing Farmer Bob’s chickens, he decides to play detective. Foxy creeps out at night to catch the culprit, but gets a very big surprise in the chicken coop…’

Overall Thoughts

I can see young children finding this a very entertaining read with its Great Escape/Chicken Run vibe. Kirsten Collier has illustrated this book and I feel she has done a very good job. I enjoyed the amusing details she includes, such as a chicken wearing a face mask and another chicken on roller skates. There is a lot of fun to be had with a child, I think, looking at the pictures and picking your favourite bit.

My Sulmtaler chickens, with the fond idea, that’s where they were sleeping…

There is a nice surprise for the younger reader at the end, after Foxy has got into decidedly hot water trying to figure out how the chickens were disappearing. In terms of mystery components, we do have the obvious suspect and it is interesting to see how the writer has ruled out this character as a potential wrong doer, by switching them to a vegetarian diet. From what I can see online this role reversal has been warmly responded to, perhaps because it paints the fox character in a more positive light. Given the target age group for this book, it wouldn’t have really worked giving the plot a scandi-noir or Chandler-esque angle. Probably a tad too gritty to have the fox kill some of the chickens at the farm in the past, yet then be framed for crimes he did not commit…

My 8 year old Polish Frizzle, Charcoal. Also fond of trees, just not quite so high up…

Whilst it may not be a book my regular readers would automatically choose for themselves, perhaps it might prove useful for those looking for a Christmas present for a younger gift recipient. That or if you’re a long way off on your Goodreads challenge and you need some quicker reads, then this might also be appropriate.

However, for now I shall certainly be keeping a close eye on my chickens…

*And yes it also meant I could legitimately include some photos of my chickens…


  1. Young mystery readers have to start somewhere, don’t they? I love illustrated children’s books, but I have held onto enough of the ones we bought for my son that I cannot add anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.