When Ruby's janitor father becomes the prime suspect in a murder, the eighth grader decides it’s up to her to clear his name.
Forensics expert Dr. Ramachandran was not the most congenial of professors, but everyone is still surprised when he turns up dead in his lab at DeWitt Polytechnic University. Ruby Rose, who attends the DeWitt Lab School on the campus, finds that in the court of public opinion her father has already been convicted—especially after empty toxin vials are found in his locker. Ruby enlists the aid of her large, Jamaican buddy, Rex, and reclusive, retired toxicologist Clara Whitmore, who lives in Ruby’s building. What with hacking into computers, evading gangs and like spy-jinx, the mystery demands a lot of brain work. However, with a little coaching Ruby is up to the task. Carey mixes toxic chemistry and logic problems in his second middle-grade mystery to good, if not great effect (The Unknowns, 2009). The slow unfolding of the mystery borders on lethargic, but the realistic heroine, her odd (but not quirky) supporting cast and the distinctive nature of the mystery save this at-times-intoxicating brew.
Budding chemists and crime-scene investigators will especially enjoy this science whodunit. (Mystery. 10-14)