Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Red Blazer Girls: the Vanishing Violin by Michael D. Beil is the second in the Red Blazer Girls series.  This series is a modern incarnation of the Nancy Drew type novels, except instead of having one female detective, Beil has a group of four friends that work on mysteries together.  There is a lot here that grade school reader girls will like. The girls are intelligent and popular.  There is a little bit of romance and a little bit of rule breaking, but not too much.  The girls each have their own abilities, and they each get their moment in the sun as they solve the mysteries.  The clues are written in such a way that the reader can try to solve them, too.  In this one someone decides they are going to make an elaborate set of puzzles clues for the girls.  If they can solve them, one of the girls will be given a valuable violin.  As the girls work on the clues, another violin is stolen from a violin shop near the coffee shop where the girls hang out.  The girls then have two mysteries to solve, one that is a game, and the other that is a real crime. Beil does a good job of writing age and gender appropriate snappy dialog of the characters.  They sound like pre-teen girls that would be fun to hang with. Everything about the story is an idealized, improbable, every-12 -year-old-sleuth's wish-come-true type of adventure. (329 p)

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