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A Nose for Adventure

by Richard Scrimger

We first met Alan Dingwall in Scrimger’s award-winning The Nose From Jupiter. In the second instalment, Dingwall is on his way to New York City to spend a fun-filled week with his divorced Dad. A white-knuckle flier if there ever was one, Dingwall is sitting with 14-year-old too-cool-for-words Frieda Miller. Frieda’s take-charge attitude isn’t hampered in the least by the fact that she is wheelchair dependent. Scrimger doesn’t waste a word on clichés or political correctness as he develops Frieda’s relationship with our hayseed from Cobourg.

When they land in New York, no one is there to meet either of them and the adventure machinery cranks up. Frieda is pulled aside and her wheelchair almost waylaid by nefarious nogoodniks posing as customs inspectors. While they’re trying to make their getaway, the kids are joined by Norbert (an intergalactic alien), who makes himself at home in the snout of a friendly stray dog. Frieda’s very important parents live in the Upper West Side and our intriguing trio must make it all the way across town, without money or means, and with a gang of antiquities smugglers in hot pursuit.

Scrimger is a gentle humorist and Alan Dingwall is a gentle, funny kid. His reactions to the pulse of New York and to the threat of his imminent demise are witty and occasionally poignant. When Dingwall discovers what was, to him, the previously invisible street world of the disabled, it becomes our discovery too. Primarily a 10-hour adventure romp, A Nose for Adventure works because of characterization.