Literature / Cam Jansen

The Cam Jansen series is a long-running series of children's mysteries, written by David A. Adler, starting in 1980.

Cam Jansen is a girl with a perfect photographic memory, which she uses to solve crimes, with the help of her friend Eric Shelton.

The books are aimed at kids around the ages of 7-9, despite Cam and Eric being in fifth grade.

There are over thirty books in the main series. There is also a Young Cam Jansen series which adds about 15 more.

These books contains examples of:

  • The Alleged Bike: Cam's bike in "Dinosaur Bones" is a piece of garbage that has a kickstand that randomly drops on her and can't be put back in place for riding without outside assistance. She presumably gets a new one after that adventure because it's never a problem again.
  • As You Know: Once a book, the reader is reminded that "Cam" is a nickname, that it's short for "Camera", came about because of her memory and that her real name is Jennifer.
  • Baby Talk: One story involving thieves at the mall had a short subplot where Eric is able to translate a little boy's statement that his mother was shopping for "dirt" as meaning she's buying a shirt; he claims that his sisters did the same thing as toddlers.
  • Busman's Holiday: Doesn't matter where they're going or what they're doing; Cam and Eric will find a mystery.
  • Chekhov's Gun: At least once a book, some detail that is explicitly pointed out will become key to the mystery.
  • Cute Kitten: In "The UFO Mystery", Cam adopts a kitten who she names Neptune.
  • Eureka Moment: Cam has at least one a book.
  • Forgetful Jones: Cam's aunt.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: Eric's little sisters differentiate by one of them wearing her hair in braids.
  • Kid Detective: Cam and Eric both try to solve crimes wherever they go.
  • Nice Kids: Cam and Eric are both generally sweet and polite kids.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Cam and Eric's ages never change despite having at least 2 books mentioning new teachers, implying a new school year starting.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Eric and most everyone else calls her Cam (short for "Camera"), except for her parents and an aunt (who call her by her real name, Jennifer).
  • Photographic Memory: Cam's ability, which helps her solve the crimes.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Cam and Eric are best friends and at no point is there even a hint of Ship Tease between them.
  • Twin Switch: An artificially created one in "Television Dog" drives the plot and Cam and Eric pull one off with Eric's sisters to distract the story's crook.
  • Undying Loyalty: Eric always has complete faith in Cam and her abilities.
  • The Watson: Eric serves as one for Cam.