1. Edgar spies on his classmates in an effort to solve the mystery, and in the process he learns something important about each one. Specifically, he reads: Destiny’s poem about the willow tree; Taz’s article about osteosarcoma; and Patrick’s poems about his parents’ divorce. Do you think Edgar should have read these items? What did he learn about his classmates?
2. On page 59, Edgar wonders if everybody has a secret sadness. What do you think?
3. Why do you think Mr. Crew likes his students to have a moment of silence before they start to write?
4. Describe Edgar’s weakness and strengths.
5. Authors often deliberately repeat images or details in a book. For example, Edgar says that giving up would be like handing Patrick a big bowl of victory with whipped cream on top (p. 20) Later, after he writes his “Inside ” poem, Edgar helps himself to a big bowl of ice cream with whipped cream on top (p.95). Why do you think Mary Amato chose to do this? Dogs are another repeated image throughout the book. Discuss where and how dogs are mentioned or appear in the book. Why do you think Amato chose to have Edgar wish he could have a dog?
6. In the first part of the book, Edgar doesn’t like poetry, is embarrassed that his parents are clowns, believes that Destiny and Taz are always happy, and says that he hates Patrick several times. Describe how and why Edgar’s feelings about topics change by the end of the book.
7. See Mary Amato’s revision example and discuss how and why she revised.
Many of the characters in Edgar Allan’s Official Crime Investigation Notebook are named after famous people. See if you can figure out who the following characters are named after.
Edgar’s art teacher, Ms. Cassatt:
Edgar’s music teacher, Ms. Schubert:
Edgar’s science teacher, Ms. Herschel:
Henri’s band director, Mr. Copland: