Here's the third post in my week celebrating the young crime solver.
The Case of the Ruby Necklace by Alex Carter (February 2011, Red Fox ISBN 1849411719)
Review: The Case of the Ruby Necklace is the first in the Mayfair Mysteries, released alongside The Case of the Poisoned Pie back in February. The series is so named as one of the four lead characters, Lauren, lives in the swanky London hotel Mayfair Park which is run by her mum and dad. Her best friends Jas, Mia and Becky spend their spare time there, where there is even an Olympic-sized pool in the basement.
The girls are very excited when they learn that famous US movie star Isabella Duval will be staying at the hotel to promote a new range of jewellery and she will be modelling the priceless "Cleopatra's necklace" at the launch.
Isabella is charming to the friends at first but during another visit she is rude. Why is Isabella so moody, who is her PR assistant Max and what is his interest in antiques?
The girls get themselves into some nail-biting scrapes before their keen observational skills save the day.
Despite the pink cover this was not as girly as I'd feared. I'm not sure how old the girls are - the book cover has suitable for 8+ on the back - there are a few references to fashion and make-up but not overdone (for my taste) and the girls have quite a bit of freedom. The friends are inventive and work well as a team with each girl having a different strength eg IT, acting. I think the solution to the mystery is credible to its target audience and I think they will love the glamour of the hotel setting. I don't see many boys picking it up though there are a couple of boys playing a small but critical role in this mystery. I enjoyed it and I'll be recommending it to the younger members of my reading group of 9-11 year-olds.
The girls will be back next year in The Case of the Suspicious Supermodel and The Case of the Haunted Hotel.
I haven't yet read The Case of the Poisoned Pie (though I'm planning to!) however a young lady falling squarely in the target audience, asastar at Book Angel Booktopia had this to say about it:
"I thought the Mayfair Mysteries were really exciting. I just could not seem to stop reading it even when Mum said it was time to go to sleep. I even read it as soon as I got up in the morning."
and there's no higher praise than not being able to stop reading something.