Bob Burke is originally from Ennis. He now lives in a small village with no pub just outside Limerick, with his wife and three sons. He has spent over twenty years working with computers, most recently as an IT Manager in Dell.
Bob has dabbled (badly) in writing since he was very young but recently not only managed to finish something he’d started but actually succeeded in getting it published.
His first novel The Third Pig Detective Agency is a winner of the 2009/2010 Eilis Dillon / Bisto Award, a prestigious award for Irish authors or illustrators of children’s books.
When not writing and being an unpaid chauffeur for his three sons, Bob enjoys reading lots and lots of books and supporting Munster in rugby and Chelsea in football.
The Harry Pig Series
Book 1 – THE THIRD PIG DETECTIVE AGENCY
Winner of The Eilis Dillon / Bisto Award (best first novel)
Meet Harry Pigg, Private Eye. He is one of a kind.
Columbo, Kojak, Miss Marple, Sam Spade and Sherlock Holmes were all great detectives but Harry has something that none of them can boast – trotters, a curly tail and a snout for trouble.
Flush with his success at defeating the Big Bad Wolf (yes, he is the pig that escaped – the Third Pig), Harry has set up his own private investigation firm in Grimmtown.
When Harry is hired to track down a missing lamp for a dodgy local businessman named Aladdin he becomes embroiled in a much larger case.
Though the first part is easy for a PI of Harry’s calibre, the second part gets him into all sorts of trouble and he doesn’t come out of it smelling of roses (quite the reverse, literally).
He is beaten up, double crossed, chased across town and beaten up some more before he finally works out what the hell is going on.
And it isn’t what he expected. Not at all. It’s going to take some magic to keep Harry in one piece and to resolve the ownership of that lamp…
The Third Pig Detective Agency proves that you are never too old for nursery rhymes, especially when they are as twisted and funny as this.
Published by The Friday Studio / HarperCollins UK (July 2009)
BOOK 2 – THE HO HO HO MYSTERY
Things are finally looking up for Harry Pigg, detective and sole survivor of the Three Little Pigs fiasco. He’s just solved his first big case, acquired – despite his best efforts to the contrary – two new junior detectives in the Genie of the Lamp and Jack Horner and seems to have enough money to finally get his business up and running properly. Now all he needs is a new client.
Enter a large, red-dressed and very angry woman named Mrs. Claus who claims her husband, Santa, has been kidnapped two days before Christmas. Against his better judgment Harry takes on the case, believing that Mrs. Claus is either having him on or that Santa has run off with another woman and will turn up sooner or later, full of apologies.
Finding no clues locally, Harry and Mrs. Claus take a trip to the North Pole so Harry can continue his investigations there. On the way they are attacked by a jet-powered sleigh and barely escape… The attempt on their lives leads Harry to believe that there may be some substance to Mrs. Claus’ story after all.
At the North Pole, Harry interviews a very arrogant Rudolph and all of Santa’s Little Helpers. When one of the elves tries to make a break for it, it leads to a hair-raising jet-ski chase across the snow. Just when Harry has the elf in his grasp, he is rescued by a flying sleigh – possibly even the one that had tried to kill Harry earlier. Despondent at the lack of any clues Harry heads back to base where he’s told that Santa’s sleigh has been found abandoned north of Grimmtown…
To make matters worse he’s kidnapped by local crime lord Ali Baba who insists that Harry discover who is framing him for forty robberies that took place in Grimmtown the previous night. Coerced into taking the case, Harry must now deal with two formidable clients with equally aggressive deadlines – neither of whom is willing to compromise!
When Mrs. Claus drops some cryptic but apparently significant references to ‘time being of the essence’, Harry has a flash of inspiration. The case is about time – or rather the ability to manipulate time…
To be published by The Friday Studio / HarperCollins UK Autumn 2010. Edited manuscript available.
BOOK 3 – THE CURDS AND WHEY MYSTERY
The Curds and Whey Bed and Breakfast is infested with giant spiders. The owner, Matilda Muffet, is on the brink of closing the premises down. Someone is trying to put her out of business. But who – and why?
Harry Pigg is hired to find out who is behind this nefarious plot. At first, he suspects that local hotelier, Greta Sole, owner of the exclusive five-star Shoe Hotel, is trying to shut down the competition. When Mrs. Sole points out that a small-time B&B is of no threat whatsoever, Harry digs deeper. Discovering that the B&B is in the way of the Yellow Brick Road Construction Company’s plans for a bypass, Harry breaks into their site office and finds out that, not only is the B&B directly in the way of the proposed road but the company itself is owned by Edna, Wicked Witch of the West Side, an old nemesis of Harry’s.
However, Harry is thwarted again when he learns that, as tuffets are a protected under local sites of historical interest bylaw, the YBR Construction hadn’t planned to go through the B&B but over it, thus not needing to put Miss Muffet out of business either.
Stumped, Harry is on the verge of giving up when he discovers that Miss Muffet is the daughter of the infamous (and long deceased) criminal Sinbad the Sailor (although she changed her name in an effort to make a fresh start when she inherited the B&B). It had been rumoured that Sinbad had hidden his ill-gotten gains before he died and Harry realizes that the loot is buried somewhere in the house.
Rights available: World ex. English language (The Friday Studio / HarperCollins UK)
Praise for THE THIRD PIG DETECTIVE AGENCY, Book 1
“With tongue firmly in cheek, Burke offers a send-up of both fairy tales and hard-boiled mysteries with this series opener that stars Harry Pigg, owner of the Third Pig Detective Agency and a celebrity after surviving the famous run-in with Mr. Wolf. … High-energy caper. Pair this with titles in Michael Buckley’s The Sisters Grimm series and Bruce Hale’s Chet Gecko books.” Booklist
“You don’t have to like detective fiction to enjoy this, but if you do you’ll probably appreciate it more” Books Ireland
“The Third Pig Detective Agency should raise more than a few smiles as the reader gets to meet some familiar faces from fairy tales and nursery rhymes whilst Harry wisecracks his way through solving the mystery. Harry is an unusual take on the traditional American gumshoe character and I look forward to reading his next adventure.” Teenage Fiction for All Ages
“The Third Pig Detective Agency is brimming with familiar characters and has enough teasing references seeded throughout to ensure readers will lap up any sequels (and it looks set to become a successful series). Culch.ie
“Funny, thrilling and always entertaining, Harry Pigg is an old breed of hero for a new generation. It’s as if Humphrey Bogart or James Cagney had walked into the middle of a bedtime story. A comedy caper for all ages.” Goodreads.com
“The Third Pig Detective Agency is a great book, totally entertaining and madcap. Harry Pigg is a fabulous character, a kind of porcine Philip Marlowe let loose in a fractured fairytale universe. I have no doubt he is going to garner a cult following.” Welshcake.com
“Once I got my snout into The Third Pig Detective Agency wild banbhs couldn’t drag me away.” Tony Galvin, Tuam Herald
“This is undoubtedly the most whimsical hardboiled detective novel ever written, and it’s utterly delightful.” Matt Beynon Rees, author of the award-winning Omar Yussef novels
“Is sure to spark a following from people who like a quirky, easy and well crafted read.” Caroline Smailes, author of Black Boxes and In Search of Adam