Gymshoe – by Karl Thurgood and Andrew Turnbull




I’d mentioned to my friend Karl, that I was looking to stretch my artistic muscles and start doing some different things and he sent me one or two ideas he has.  (Yes, we’ll tackle them all, but this was the one that really struck my fancy).  Rather than me talk about it, I’ll hand it over to Karl to give you the lowdown on GYMSHOE.

“That’s James Jamsheugh, most folks call him Gymshoe. They say he’s the best detective in Year Six. Mind you, he’s also the only detective in Year Six. But the point stands. He doesn’t carry a cap-gun – doesn’t believe in them – but he’s not afraid of much. Not the lunch-money racket, the bullies who think they run this playground, or a deputy head who’d rather close the case quickly than interrupt his lunchtime. Gymshoe doesn’t let any of that bother him. He’s only interested in one thing. The truth.

Your homework stolen, falsely accused of breaking that window with a snowball/? Someone taking gumdrops to throw a softball game? A scam to water down the diet pop in the tuck shop? Someone holding your favourite marble hostage? Large or small, Gymshoe won’t rest until justice is done…. or till bed-time at least…..”


“Who is Gymshoe? Gymshoe is a hero for the playground of today, yesterday and tomorrow. He is a boy who lives in a world that might be called “Playground Noir”. Where stealing lunch-money is a major enterprise, and sweet-legging banned sugary snacks into school is an organised racket. He exists in a school where the innocent can’t always be assured that they will get a fair hearing from harassed and overworked teachers, and where the unpopular kid can easily get a raw deal. But onto that mean playground must go a boy who is not himself mean. A boy with an eye for details and the determination to seek the truth wherever it is found. A pint-sized PI trying to do the right thing whether anyone else cares or not. Because in the end what matters is that justice is done by everyone on the playground.”


“She said she was being framed. That had got my attention. A smart, successful, Year Seven girl didn’t move in the kind of circles where you usually run into that.”

James Jamsheugh, know as Gymshoe to all and sundry, is a detective by nature – and the smartest investigator in any year at Queen Ellery school. So when a Year Seven girl asks for his help to prove she was innocent of the theft of a prized Spelling Trophy he can’t very well say no. But what sounds like a straight-forward case might well be anything but. And Gymshoe may well find himself going from the hallowed halls of the Admin Corridor to the dark side of the Playground and a meeting with the kid who sits at the heart of the lunch money rackets. A deputy head wants him to back out of the investigation, and there are plenty of kids on the playground who’d rather someone, anyone, took the fall so that everything could get back to normal

But Gymshoe is a kid determined to see justice done, and even if it means risking being sentenced to hard-time in detention he isn’t going to quit until he gets to the truth

So I need to design his school building and a few other things, while refining Gymshoe’s design before we get cracking on the first (of many, hopefully) adventures.