Monday, September 1, 2014

What's better than a ninja? A ninja detective!!

12-year-old Miranda “Randi” Rhodes has secretly protected her South Brooklyn neighborhood for over a year, solving cases too small for the police to investigate. Now her father, writer of the Glenn Street detective series, has decided to sell their home and move to the small town of Deer Creek. Randi had definite expectations for her new life: she’s going to die of boredom. Then the town’s 200-year-old time capsule is stolen on the eve of the Founder’s Day celebration, which would have brought tourists back to the struggling town. With the treat of foreclosure and bankruptcy on the horizon Deer Creek’s business owners are frantic - and they’re sure they know who the thief is. It’s up to Randi and her new friends to solve the case, bring the real culprit to justice, and save the town.

This middle grade mystery novel has interesting characters, mild twists, and (mostly) believable scenarios.Spencer has filled her story with diverse characters that break stereotype: a female sheriff who used to be a professional fighter; a deaf best friend who’s mom is covered in tattoos; a Japanese “nanny” who does Tai Chi and adds catfish to her traditional cuisine…even the Rottweiler avoids being a cliche. These characters are well-written and have depth, a difficult feat in such a short novel. The mystery is easy enough for tween reading but also entertaining and absorbing. Readers will look forward to the next Randi Rhodes: Ninja Detective novel.

Spencer, Octavia. The Case of the Time Capsule Bandit (Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective #1). New York: Simon & Shuster Books for Young Readers, 2013.

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