->''We live in Santa Martina, remember? This town is full of wackos.''
-->'''Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen'''

''Sammy Keyes'', to quote TheOtherWiki, is a series of mystery novels aimed at children and teenagers that, of course, follows the adventures of the titular protagonist. In most of the books, she deals with everyday junior high school life, solves mysteries, and contends with her arch-nemesis Heather Acosta, though there have been a couple of exceptions to the formula.

!!These works contain examples of the following tropes:

* AdultFear: One story centers around Sammy running into a scared, desperate girl, who forces Sammy to take a bag. When the girl is forced to leave, it turns out that there's a baby inside. [[spoiler:It's later revealed that the baby was the girl's son and that she was forced to give him to a complete stranger to protect him from her abusive ex-boyfriend, who was hunting her down. The climax of the novel reveals that the ex did catch her, and left her in his basement, tied up and starving. After she's rescued, she wants to see her baby before getting medical treatment.]]
* AnAesop: Most of the books have at least one. Despite being {{Anvilicious}} at points, they're handled well.
* AlliterativeName: Tenille Toolee, the Dragon to Heather's BigBad.
* AlphaBitch: Heather, complete with a [[FlatCharacter one-dimensional]], [[TheDitz dimwitted]] GirlPosse. The flatness of the characters could easily be explained by Sammy's biased perceptions of them.
* ArchEnemy: Heather Acosta, to Sammy.
* AuthorAppeal: Van Draanen's parents are Dutch immigrants, and so are Dot's. Her husband's great-grandfather crossed the plains in 1850. In ''Moustache Mary'', the eponymous pioneer was part of a group of travelers doing the same thing, and Sammy spends New Years' with Dot's family. It's one of the few cases where the authour appeal is ''educational''-as well as [[FoodPorn delicious]].
* BitchInSheepsClothing: [[spoiler:The Sisters of Mercy, big time!]]
* BluffTheEavesdropper: In ''Sisters of Mercy'', Sammy and Marissa do this to Monet when they start deliberately going over the wrong softball signals.
* CampGay: Art gallery owner--and Ren Faire booth-runner--Jojo in ''Art of Deception''.
* ChekhovsGun: As is natural for almost any detective story.
** An upcoming Chekhov's Location in ''Kiss Goodbye'' will be [[spoiler:the fire escape, which Sammy gets pushed off]].
* ChekhovsGunman: Darren Cole, a rock musician first mentioned in ''Psycho Kitty Queen'' whose fandom includes Sammy, Casey, and Marissa's family. [[spoiler:In ''Showdown in Sin City'', it's revealed that he's Sammy's father.]]
* CityOfAdventure: Santa Martina.
* CharacterNameAndTheNounPhrase: The format all the titles follow.
* ComicBookTime: The first installments were published, and presumably set, around 1990ish. About a year and a half has passed in Sammy's world, but the setting has kept pace with the twenty-some years passing on the outside: in recent books, most middle-school kids have their own cell phones.
* CoolOldGuy: Hudson.
* CoolOldLady: Grams has her moments.
* CuteBruiser: And again, Sammy.
** Holly Janquell, her baseball bat, and her troubled past would like to weigh in, too.
* DarkerAndEdgier: How many kid detective series involve arson, murder, drugs, and sex, [[TropesAreNotBad without any loss in quality]]?
** As well as having thirteen and fourteen year olds drinking and smoking. While underage drinking and such are handled in other, grittier stories, [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotForKids few of them are aimed at younger children.]]
** The Amazon blurb for the final book, to be released in September 2014, reveals that [[spoiler:Sammy gets pushed off the fire escape and ends up in the hospital]].
* DeadpanSnarker: A lot of characters in the series have shades of this, but it's most apparent in [[FirstPersonSmartass Sammy's narration.]]
* DrivingQuestion: Arguably - Sammy wants to know who her father is, and [[WordOfGod Van Draanen has stated that the series will end when she finds out.]]
** More recently, Van Draanen said on her blog that Sammy will find out who he is with in the next few books, and the series will continue for several books after that. At the time of this edit, that book and a second came out; only one more is planned.
** [[spoiler:Sammy finds out in the sixteenth book, ''Showdown in Sin City'', two before the end of the series.]]
* EnemyMine: Sammy and Officer Borsch help each other out occasionally. [[spoiler:They eventually become [[FriendlyEnemy Friendly Enemies]], and then outright friends.]]
* EurekaMoment: Again, as usual for the genre.
* EvilRedhead: Heather, as well as her mother, though it's been suggested that they're dyeing it.
* FairPlayWhodunit
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: Sammy (choleric), Marissa (phlegmatic), Holly (melancholic), Dot (sanguine).
** Later in the series, becomes more like a FiveManBand, with Sammy as TheLeader, Marissa as TheLancer, Casey as TheSmartGuy, Holly as TheBigGuy, and Billy as TheChick. Dot seems to get demoted to more of a SixthRanger type.
* HeIsNotMyBoyfriend: Sammy and Casey. No one believes her.
** [[spoiler: Eventually ends with a RelationshipUpgrade.]]
* HiddenDepths: Many, many characters.
* InspectorJavert: Officer Borsch, initially.
* IntergenerationalFriendship: Sammy and Hudson.
** Sammy and [[spoiler: Officer Borsch, eventually.]]
* IWasQuiteALooker: Sammy finds an old picture of her neighbor, Mrs. Graybill.
* {{Jerkass}}: Heather, all the way.
** Danny Urbanski, as well.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Amazingly, Officer Borsch.
* KaleidoscopeEyes: Father Mayhew is mentioned to have them.
* KickTheDog: Heather's character is practically built upon petty maliciousness. Special mention goes to her taunting Sammy about losing her father's softball mitt in ''Sisters of Mercy.''
* KidDetective: Sammy herself, sometimes with help from her friends. She calls it "snooping".
* MaskedLuchador: El Gato in ''Psycho Kitty Queen''. [[spoiler:He's actually Borsch, undercover on his own time to infiltrate a catfighting ring.]]
* MysteryMagnet: A stranger example than others, as each mystery usually takes place within a month. Other MysteryMagnet stories aren't as regulated.
* TheNicknamer: Sammy, in regards to practically everything. She has a tendency to give people she encounters (often unflattering) nicknames before she knows their real names. If she likes you, she'll start calling you by your real name once she knows it, but if not, the nickname sticks.
* NotAllowedToGrowUp: Averted. Sammy's age progresses as the series goes on. [[spoiler:At least, until ''Psycho Kitty Queen'', when Lana reveals she lied about Sammy's age to get her into Kindergarten early. And she tells her this days before her 14th birthday, which is actually her 13th.]]
* OneSteveLimit: Cassie Kuo, a minor character from ''Sisters of Mercy'', is given the nickname "Cricket" in ''Wild Things'', apparently so as not to confuse her with Casey Acosta.
* OutDamnedSpot: Happens in ''Dead Giveaway''. Luckily, it ends better than a lot of examples.
* ParentalAbandonment: Sammy's dad has vanished, and her mother has run off to Hollywood to be an actress. [[spoiler:Once her dad learns he has a daughter, he makes an effort to get back into Sammy's life, and is a major character in ''Killer Cruise''.]]
** Casey certainly believes this is the case in ''[[spoiler:Wedding Crasher]]'' when his dad Warren [[spoiler:gets a part in the same soap opera as Sammy's mom, thus forcing him to move in with his mother and sister, both of whom he hates. This causes some angst in his relationship with Sammy.]] It's also on the {{Squick}} side of things for the both of them when they find out that [[spoiler:Warren and Lana are moving in together after having dated for a while.]]
* RetiredBadass: One possible interpretation of Hudson.
* SeriousBusiness: Santa Martina takes softball very seriously, so much so that there's a softball statue in City Hall. It's rumored that the mayor bows to it every day.
* ShadowArchetype: Explicitly spelled out as Heather's relationship to Sammy, up to [[spoiler:having the same birthday.]]
* StreetUrchin: Holly, initially.
* ThePasswordIsAlwaysSwordfish: When Sammy wants to figure out how to crack a safe, the advice Hudson gives her is essentially this trope, but paraphrased.
* TogetherInDeath: Really, really creepy variation in ''Hollywood Mummy''. [[spoiler:Sammy's mother Lana, an actress, fakes an ID so she can claim to be 25. Unfortunately, her new birthdate is the day her boss's wife died. He thinks Lana is the reincarnation of his wife, and he tries to kill both of them so they can be reincarnated together.]]
* VillainousBreakdown: In the later books, this happens to Heather. She still hasn't really recovered from it. [[spoiler:It doesn't help that Sammy saved her from drowning, either.]]
* WellDoneSonGuy: Heather Acosta - when Sammy realizes this, it forces her to admit that they're NotSoDifferent.
* WhamEpisode: ''Showdown in Sin City''. [[spoiler: Grams and Hudson get married, Marissa's family falls apart and decides to move away from Santa Martina, Sammy and Heather team up and overcome their mutual hatred, and Sammy's father's identity is revealed.]]
* WillTheyOrWontThey: Grams and Hudson danced around this for most of the series. [[spoiler: Eventually, they did.]]
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