Wallace and Mason Investigations is on the case of the missing mascot.
Noir-obsessed Howard Wallace and down-to-earth Ivy Mason, middle school detectives, catch a new case. Junk-shop owner Marvin, to whom Howard owes many favors, wants his grandnephew Carl’s name cleared. It seems that Carl, who happens to be on Howard’s enemies list (for wedgies past), stands accused of kidnapping his own basketball team’s mascot, Spartacus the pug, and so he’s been suspended from the team. Howard and Ivy take the case, but due to past problems at school, they can’t detect during the week. That stricture is lifted when coach Mr. Williams hires them to find the pug before the big game. Twists turn and turn again, and the detective duo nearly breaks up as they work and surprise themselves by teaming with former enemies. Lyall’s sophomore effort lacks some of the zing of series opener Howard Wallace, P.I. (2016), but mystery fans should enjoy it anyway. It leaps from the tired trope of the stolen mascot to land in new territory, and the characters interact realistically and have real kid problems. It doesn’t have much to do with Shadow of a Doubt, from which it surely draws its name, but the target audience won’t notice. Ethnicity is denoted with naming conventions; the story hews to the white default.
Another sequel is in the offing, and young mystery fans should be glad. (Mystery. 8-12)