Guy Bass: Hugh Dunnit Mysteries

A Hugh Dunnit Mystery: Taking Shelter
Guy Bass:  Hugh Dunnit Mysteries

About Author

Guy Bass introduces Hugh Dunnit, 'a self-styled detective who loves nothing more than cracking cases and solving mysteries - even when there are no mysteries to be solved.'

Guy is an award-winning author who has written more than 30 books, including the best-selling Stitch Head series, Dinkin Dings, Spynosaur and Skeleton Keys.  He has also written plays for adults and children.

In times past, Guy has been a theatre producer, a surly temp, and has acted his way out of several paper bags. He lives in London with his wife.   Find out more at & @GuyBassBooks



A Hugh Dunnit Mystery: Taking Shelter   (Andersen Press)

April 2024

Destroyed homework, a rescued dog and a case to crack... Meet Hugh Dunnit, a wanna-be detective who has a legion of suspects lined up in this hilarious new detective series for readers aged seven plus. With its gags, comic strips and a distinctive noir vibe, A Hugh Dunnit Mystery: Taking Shelter pokes fun at detective stories and revels in one-liners.  We asked author Guy Bass to tell us more!

Review:  'This book is funny to its core!'                               Read a Chapter from A Hugh Dunnit Mystery: Taking Shelter  


Q&A with Guy Bass, introducing the Hugh Dunnit mysteries!

"My books, like my cakes, are usually funny, full of heart and literally inedible."

1.    Did you always want to be a children's author, and what kinds of books do you write?

I've wanted to be a lot of things - cake maker, otter therapist, magician's accountant … last week I really wanted to be rescued from that well I fell into. But I've always had a tale to tell and a story to store. My books, like my cakes, are usually funny, full of heart and literally inedible.

2.    What does a writing day look like for you? Best and worst things about being an author?

If I'm at home, my days tend to go like this: coffee, emails, coffee, gym, coffee, admin, coffee. Then I get to writing, which I usually enjoy with a smallish cauldron of cold, steaming coffee.

I feel very fortunate to be able to turn my stories into books. There are unnumbered storytellers who never get the chance to tell their tales. Admittedly, spending hour after day after week alone in a room trying to dredge a story from a commonly constipated collection of brain farts is a very odd and slightly frustrating way to spend your life, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

3.    What is your new Hugh Dunnit series about, and who, or what, is Shelter?

Hugh Dunnit is a self-styled detective who loves nothing more than cracking cases and solving mysteries - even when there are no mysteries to be solved.

In Taking Shelter, Hugh finds a dog in a bus shelter and decides to take it home. But the dog (which he names Shelter) is so badly behaved that Hugh's mum and dad threaten to take Shelter to the dog shelter. When Shelter is accused of shredding Hugh's homework, Hugh knows the only way to save Shelter from the shelter is to find out who really committed the homework homicide…

4.    What inspired Hugh Dunnit - did old black and white movies have anything to do with it...? Or a secret wish to be a private detective?

I love books, comics and films with a 1930s noirish vibe. Put the main character in a trench coat and fedora and I'm there for the long haul. I knew I didn't have the chops to write a real detective story (see below) but I liked the idea of a hard-boiled junior detective who made his own mysteries.

5.    So many one-liners in the story.... Any favourites? Do you make yourself laugh or groan as you write?

"Like a monkey with a coconut, I had to bust this thing wide open."  I definitely groan every now and again, but that might just be my bad back.

6.    Are detective stories a new genre for you? And does Hugh actually solve anything?

It's definitely new territory. I find the idea of writing a genuine whodunnit decidedly daunting - I can't even play Cluedo without breaking out in a nervous sweat.

It's a mystery how mystery writers write mysteries. I'm not sure I could arrange all my brain farts in the right order. Instead, I set out to evoke the feel of a detective story through the eyes of someone who sees everything as a case needing to be cracked. For Hugh Dunnit, there's no simple explanation he can't complicate.

7.    A fabulous idea to tell parts of the story using comic strips, illustrated by Lee Cosgrove - any favourite moments?

Full credit to my exemplary editor Charlie Sheppard for that! I wrote the whole story in prose - Charlie suggested telling certain parts of the story as a comic book. I a) kicked myself for not thinking of it myself and b) got excited about the idea of the comic pages depicting Hugh in 'detective mode'.

Lee got it straight away - his use of light and shadow puts you in that hard-boiled world in a heartbeat. There are also so many neat touches - not to give the game away but keep your eyes on Hugh's teacher's glasses. I'm so chuffed with how the book came out.

8.    What else do you have planned for Hugh Dunnit? 

Since I bribed you to ask, I've just finished the second book in the series. Teething Trouble is the sort of case Hugh can really get his teeth into - solving the mystery of why the Tooth Fairy fails to pay up when he loses a tooth. Suspects include the world's most terrifying cat…

9.    What kinds of things do you do to relax when you're away from your desk, and can we have your top three 'must watch' black and white movies?

Like most folk, I enjoy long walks on a short beach in the morning sunset, going in and staying out, watching good food and eating good movies.

Speaking of which, you must, I repeat must (must) watch the following black and white masterpiece movies: Dr Strangelove, The Incredible Shrinking Man, and the old Flash Gordon serials with Buster Crabbe.

10.    Favourite place to escape to?

Prison. No wait, that's my favourite place to escape from.


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