Reynard “Reynie” Muldoon is an orphaned boy with a love for puzzles and books, living in an orphanage in the metropolis of Stonetown with his tutor Miss Perumal. Upon noticing an advertisement in a newspaper targeted towards gifted children, he follows up and finds himself presented with a series of complex puzzles and odd tests. He passes all the tests set before him and becomes eligible to help Mr. Benedict. He meets three other children who are gifted in their own way, George “Sticky” Washington, Kate Wetherall, and Constance Contraire. Mr. Benedict, the organizer of the tests, is assisted by his subordinates Number Two, Rhonda Kazembe, and Milligan, the secret agent turned security guard for Benedict.