THE SHANGHAI INCIDENT by Bryan Methods

THE SHANGHAI INCIDENT

From the "Master Diplexito and Mr. Scant" series
Age Range: 10 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Having (they think) vanquished one shadowy secret society in their first exploit (The Thief’s Apprentice, 2016), young Oliver and Mr. Scant, his claw-handed valet/mentor, tackle several more in their second.

When the search for Mr. Scant’s missing teenage niece, Elspeth, brings the plucky white protagonists to a China seething under European domination in the wake of the Boxer Rebellion, they are quickly cast into a cauldron of intrigue. This is stirred not only by the previously met Tri-Loom, but also by the equally shadowy Star and Stone Association and the Viridian Clan—one of which has been kidnapping French youths as part of a baroque scheme to assassinate the 5-year-old Xuantong Emperor and so fuel a new effort to throw off the foreign yoke. Ultimately, following a proper round of revelations, betrayals, and desperate heroics, the scheme is scotched. But even though (aside from giving the Chinese a light wash of inscrutability) Methods largely manages to avoid ethnic stereotypes and allows his female characters a modicum of agency to boot, the episode is largely a pastiche of standard-issue elements that bogs down in inconsequential meetings and discussions, general to-ing and fro-ing, and such missed opportunities as a dirigible voyage from Britain to Shanghai that is done in four pages.

A plodding sequel showing signs that the series is already running low on inspirational steam. (Adventure. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-5124-0580-4
Page count: 264pp
Publisher: Carolrhoda
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2017




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