Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today, we're testing your sleuthing skills and checking out those conspiracy theories as we introduce the next generation to those great detective stories of yesterday in a whole new way. Here we have a Young Adult series perfect for advanced Middle Grade readers and beyond, that lets you be front and center with the soon to be infamous detecting skills of none other than....Amanda Lester! What's that? Never heard of her? For shame! Not to worry though, you soon will and I doubt it will be the last time either. Ladies and gents, detectives of all ages and skill, get ready for today's book of choice...
Amanda Lester, Detective series, Book 1
The Writing Show
About the book...
A reluctant detective, a criminal mastermind, and . . . sugar?
Twelve-year-old Amanda Lester wouldn't be caught dead going into the family business. Her ancestor, Sherlock Holmes's colleague Inspector G. Lestrade, is a twit. Nevertheless her parents refuse to see his flaws, and she's going to a secret English school for the descendants of famous detectives whether she likes it or not.
When Amanda arrives at the dreaded school, she considers running away--until she and her new friends discover blood and weird pink substances in odd places. At first they're not sure whether these seeming clues mean anything, but when Amanda's father disappears and the cook is found dead with her head in a bag of sugar, they're certain that crimes are taking place.
Now Amanda must embrace her destiny and uncover the truth. The only snag is that arch-villain Blixus Moriarty, a descendant of Holmes's nemesis Professor James Moriarty, might be involved, and he doesn't like nosy little girls interfering in his business.
Don't let the title fool you, this is A LOT more intense than first glance might reveal! Being that this IS a detective story, I'm going with the facts and nothing but the facts as taught by the illustrious teaching staff at the Secret Scho....ah, never mind where they are from, suffice it to say they know what they're doing. *ahem* Now, let's get to that list....
The characters are unique and vary greatly.
You'd think everyone going to detective school would be cut from the same cloth, but you'd be wrong. They're as varied as the infamous names they are descended from and though they think they know themselves well, they're about to discover talents hidden even from themselves. My favorite for a transition of character would be Amanda herself. She has her heart set on pursuing a film career and though she may do very well at whatever she sets her mind to, she finds she may not be as bad at the detective stuff as she first thought. Favorite character wise though for simply being themselves is Ivy. She's got challenges one wouldn't expect a detective to face (unless they were Marvel bound) but knocks it out of the park every time. I definitely admire her gumption, tenacity and intelligence.
The scenes are detailed as are the sciences employed.
If you or someone you know is interested in going into the detective business (any branch), or perhaps loves to explore Science as a hobby, this is definitely a book for you. To be a good detective, one must be strong mentally, physically, and well learned. Hence where the Secret School comes into play with their broad curriculum covering everything from Cryptology to Evidence, Forensic Photography to Toxicology, and everything in between. For me, it was actually a bit TOO much as I like to get lost in the story itself not necessarily the entire set of building blocks it took to make them who they were, but nonetheless, it will aid and assist any budding Sherlock's amongst the reading audience.
The mystery in the mystery makes for some intense situations.
For those that are merely students of the craft, they get into some TIGHT situations! I'm talking explosions, murder, kidnapping, death threats, and the like. Yeah, and don't think the consequences aren't real because they are DEADLY serious. We lose a few along the way, who or how I shall not reveal, but try to keep your eye on the prize because if you miss a second, you might let the most vital of clues slip right on by.
To conclude, though not a perfect fit for each other, by the final page, we had become friends in arms to take down the bad guys and save the day (and boy were there some slippery bad guys!). Was the day saved? Can't tell you...but there are additional books in the series so...okay, that REALLY doesn't tell you anything either, but hopefully it tantalized. ^_^ Grab your best disguise and find a quiet place to indulge in this cunning mystery that would give good old Holmes a run for his money.
About the author...
Paula Berinstein is the former producer and host of the popular podcast The Writing Show. She lives in Southern California. Unlike her protagonist, she is crazy about Sherlock Holmes.
Special thanks to author Paula Berinstein for the copy for review. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the series, the author, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title is available now via The Writing Show, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing. Be sure to stop by the official site where you can catch up on all the latest adventures starring Amanda and the gang, as well as enroll in the Secret School for Detectives!
Until next time...happy reading!