Young Sesame Seade returns for a second round of detective work around and about the colleges of Cambridge University (Sleuth on Skates, 2014), this time aided by friends Toby and Gemma.
As Sesame’s classmate Gemma points out, though the irrepressible Sesame has billions of connections in her brain, so does everyone else—and Sesame’s rejoinder is yes, but few use them “to save the galaxy as regularly as I do.” Oddities abound. A mysterious thief is stealing gargoyles from the rooftop of Gonville & Caius College. An influx of mice comes through the window of Sesame’s room, and Peter Mortimer, Sesame’s large and aggressive cat, has suddenly become sleepy and limp. And Jeremy, Sesame’s older friend, a university student and ally, has a girlfriend. Beauvais’ voice for her young gumshoe is wisecracking and clever, conferring on Sesame moments of sleuthing prowess as well as discomfort. The several threads of the current mystery are whirled and knotted together briskly with the inclusion of pharmaceutical experiments, a marsupial, hidden treasure, rooftop capers, and a bit of perfidy on the parts of both a visiting student and Sesame’s mother. The pleasure here, as with many mysteries, is not so much with the plotting as with the interactions among the characters.
Beauvais’ narrative zips breezily along and gets to the end with several moments of laugh-out-loud cleverness—and that’s enough to grab readers. (Mystery. 9-12)