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Literature / Cam Jansen

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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 Car: 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.
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  • 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. He may have been intended as a Team Pet for Cam and Eric at one point, but this was his only appearance.
  • Dumb Blond: Inverted, as Cam is blond and very smart with a Photographic Memory.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Cam has at least one a book.
  • Forgetful Jones: Cam's aunt.
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  • 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.
  • Loophole Abuse: At the beginning of one book, Cam has roped Eric into a memory game and he's losing badly; in desperation, he asks her what color his socks are, to which she responds that said question isn't entirely fair since she can't actually see his socks. Of course, she then uses her deductive skills to work out the correct answer.
  • Nice Guy: 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 Boy/Girl Heroes: Cam and Eric are best friends and at no point is there even a hint of Ship Tease between them.
  • Sherlock Scan: While her Photographic Memory is her main tool, Cam is able to use the information she absorbs through it to do this trope, such as stating at the beginning of "Dinosaur Bones" that one of Eric's shirt buttons had fallen off and been sewn back on because the thread attaching it to said shirt was a different color than the thread on the rest of the buttons and responding to Eric's Loophole Abuse of asking her what color his socks, which she can't see, are during a memory game by deducing that since the rest of his clothes are all green, said socks probably are as well.
  • 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.