Jimmy Kudo is a brilliant student and amateur detective whose idol is - you guessed it - Sherlock Holmes (his father is a mystery writer, and he's grown up immersed in detective stories). Jimmy is a local hero, respected by his peers as well as the police, who value his insight and assistance with difficult cases. However, he is also arrogant and a bit full of himself - but luckily, he has his friend Rachel (who calls him "detective geek" and pokes fun at him for taking himself so seriously) to keep him from becoming too self involved. Despite her jokes at Jimmy's expense, it is clear that Rachel adores him - but as brilliant as he is, Jimmy hasn't a clue about that.
When he takes Rachael to an amusement park, there is a grisly murder on the roller-coaster involving a decapitation (it becomes immediately evident why this manga series is kept in the YA section of my library) , and Jimmy is quickly able to determine the true culprit, despite an array of baffling evidence. On the way home, though, Jimmy follows some suspicious characters he'd seen earlier that night, and he runs into what appears to be a clandestine, illegal money exchange. He is caught spying on the men, who capture him and give him what is supposed to be an untraceable poison, a substance that hasn't yet been tested on humans. Jimmy is surprised when he wakes up later - he'd thought he was dead for sure - and he's even more surprised to find himself in the body of a seven-year-old!
Suddenly no one's taking Jimmy seriously anymore. He finds himself living with Rachel, who thinks he's just a cute little boy named Conan, and helping her loser detective father with his cases - without getting any credit for it. He hopes to use her father's resources to track down the men who gave him the substance in order to figure out how to change back into his real self - but he doesn't know where to start.
This is a promising beginning of a series, full of humor and suspense, and very clever mysteries. Aoyama gives plenty of clues, and it is fun to try to solve the puzzles before "Conan" does. Jimmy is much more likeable in his little boy form, and it is fun to watch him squirm when Rachel reveals her true feelings for Jimmy to the little boy, telling him to make sure to keep them a secret! I will be looking forward to more excitement, romance and mystery-solving in volume 2 of this series.
Case Closed, Volume 1 by Gosho Aoyama (VIZ Media, 2004)