Meet Former Kid Detective Charlotte Illes

by Katie Siegel

Charlotte Illes is a former kid detective who, despite some people’s best efforts, remains adamant that she is done with solving mysteries. Katie Siegel, author of the upcoming Charlotte Illes Is Not A Detective, sat down with her titular character to ask some questions.

Katie: Okay, are you ready to start?

Charlotte: Is that the first question?

Katie: Don’t be like that.

Charlotte: Like what??

Katie: Can we just get through this with minimum amounts of dryness?

Charlotte: [drily] I’m brimming with excitement.

Katie: What advice would you give to a kid who wants to become a detective?

Charlotte: Don’t.

Katie: Charlotte.

Charlotte: I’m serious! Kids have so many other things they can be doing these days. Why spend your free time digging through people’s trash cans and hiding in car trunks?

Katie: But if you had to give advice…

Charlotte: Fine. I guess you can practice being observant. Try noticing when things are different or out of place. If being observant isn’t your strong suit, maybe find a different hobby.

Katie: Be nice.

Charlotte: That was literally me being nice!

Katie: Next question: how can you tell if someone is lying?

Charlotte: You can’t. Everyone’s different. There’s no one way to tell if someone’s lying. If you know a person well, you can get to know their tells, but just because someone’s shoulders tense or eye twitches doesn’t automatically mean they’re lying to you. They might just have a twitchy eye.

Katie: That was a really good answer.

Charlotte: Well, I figured I’d finish this on a high note.

Katie: We’re not finished.

Charlotte: We’re not??

Katie: That was only two questions!

Charlotte: I feel like I’ve been here for hours.

Katie: I’m worried people might get the wrong impression of you because you’re giving me an attitude right now.

Charlotte: I just don’t like talking about myself.

Katie: Okay, then let’s talk about your friends. What do you admire about Lucy and Gabe?

Charlotte: Did they put you up to this?

Katie: Can you just—

Charlotte: Lucy’s, like, the kindest person you’ll ever meet. And she’s loyal, almost to a fault, considering all the shenanigans she’s put up with while being friends with me for so many years. And Gabe’s just insanely charismatic. Everyone loves him. And he’s also really loyal. They’re both honestly too loyal for their own good.

Katie: I think you’re also pretty loyal.

Charlotte: Yeah, it’s a problem for me, too.

Katie: What’s your favorite mystery you solved as a child?

Charlotte: Honestly, they all blur together.

Katie: Can you just give me one so we can all go home?

Charlotte: Oh, but I’m the one with the attitude. “The Case of the Missing School Supplies.”

Katie: Why that one?
Charlotte: Because you told me to pick one.

Katie: But why did that one come to mind?

Charlotte: I dunno, because it was the first real mystery I ever solved. I was in kindergarten, and it was when I fully realized that my knack for finding stuff could actually help people. And that it felt really good to get answers to questions no one else was able to answer. I also got to pick an extra prize from the prize chest as a reward for solving the mystery, so that was nice.

Katie: Why did you stop doing detective work?

Charlotte: Okay, we’re done.

Katie: Seriously??

Charlotte: I’m going through a tunnel…you’re cutting out…

Katie: That’s not how this works.




Katie: Okay, we can be done.

Charlotte: Thank god.

For anyone seeking to satisfy their Harriet the Spy or Encyclopedia Brown nostalgia, this modern, witty debut based on the popular @katiefliesaway TikTok series stars a twentysomething former kid detective who’s coaxed out of retirement for one last case.


For anyone seeking to satisfy their Harriet the Spy, Encyclopedia Brown, or Nancy Drew nostalgia, this charming, entertaining debut based on the popular @katiefliesaway TikTok series stars a twentysomething former kid detective who’s coaxed out of retirement for one last case.

The downside of being a famous child detective is that sooner or later, you have to grow up . . .

As a kid, Charlotte Illes’ uncanny sleuthing abilities made her a minor celebrity. But in high school, she hung up her detective’s hat and stashed away the signature blue landline in her “office”—aka garage—convinced that finding her adult purpose would be as easy as tracking down missing pudding cups or locating stolen diamonds.

Now twenty-five, Charlotte has a nagging fear that she hit her peak in middle school. She’s living with her mom, scrolling through job listings, and her love life consists mostly of first dates. When it comes to knowing what to do next, Charlotte hasn’t got a clue.

And then, her old blue phone rings . . .

Reluctantly, Charlotte is pulled back into the mystery-solving world she knew—just one more time. But that world is a whole lot more complicated for an adult. As a kid, she was able to crack the case and still get her homework done on time. Now she’s dealing with dead bodies, missing persons, and villains who actually see her as a viable threat. And the detective skills she was once so eager to never use again are the only things that can stop a killer ready to make sure her next retirement is permanent . . .