October 22, 2011

The Red Blazer Girls - by Michael Beil

Three girls with bright red blazers would not really strike me as the ideal undercover detectives, but I would be wrong.  Just like Nancy Drew, but more modern, less wealthy, and much more interesting, three twelve-year-old students at a New York City private Catholic school for girls are the hottest crime-fighting team in town.  When these young ladies meet a nutty old lady with clues to a valuable hidden treasure, they are hooked, and not even creepy nasty dudes, a super-sized cat or a (sigh) cute boy can stop them.

This first in a promising new series of mysteries is full of funny situations and interesting characters, and the author does a great job of using sophisticated language and concepts without being too brainy.  The book focuses a lot on the characters' lives and emotions, both serious and side-splitting hilarious, and he arranges the story so that each character's strengths contribute to the ending.  It's excellent writing.  My only problem with it is some foul language and talk about girl issues, which I suppose is fine for teenage girls, but... I'm MISTER K, and there are some things I don't care to read about.  This will probably not be a big winner with the guys, sorry.

Luckily, someone at the publisher changed the cover.  Here's the original, which to me screams "Hey! Don't read me!  I'm boring and old-fashioned!"

For girls who love mysteries, this series will join my list of strong recommendations, right beside the Sammy Keyes series by Wendelin Van Draanen.

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