Amateur sleuth and wild jumper-to-conclusions Quinnie Boyd is back in a second cozy mystery (The Maypop Kidnapping, 2016)—this time trying to determine if a pair of visiting horror writers are blood-sucking vampires.
When best friend Ella’s Aunt Ceil and Uncle Edgar Waterman arrive in Maiden Rock for a summer of writing, Quinnie’s teacher suggests her three eighth graders compare their most famous book to Dracula. This assignment weaves throughout the book, fueling Quinnie’s already overactive imagination, often with amusing results. The Watermans have thin white fingers, go out only at night, shroud mirrors, and, like their protagonist, Count Le Plasma, drive a Flying Spur. Strange events occur in the sleepy Maine town; Quinnie and her new friend, geeky Dominic, suspect the writers are vampires. Their investigation takes them to a middle-of-the-night rendezvous at the beach (yes, they get grounded) and causes them nearly to drown. While the vampire question ends rather anticlimactically, the kids expose an extortion scheme in a heart-pounding conclusion. Quinnie is a delightfully engaging narrator whose confusion about parents and boys rings true. When Dominic fake bites her neck with fangs, Quinnie optimistically considers that her first kiss. Races of the colorful cast of characters are unspecified, but there are no cues to indicate they are anything other than white.
An unusual approach to vampires with shudders tempered by plenty of humor. Readers will happily welcome back Quinnie and the Maiden Rockers. (Mystery. 10-14)