A selection of 12 original, traditional mysteries loosely organized by minigenre: locked rooms, closed systems, poisonings, and dog stories.
For readers relatively new to the genre, this British import offers a nice selection of the ways these puzzle pieces can be worked out, with plenty of allusions to classics in the field. The young protagonists include both boys and girls, from preteens to young workers. The title character in the opening "Emily and the Detectives" is "a small muddy brown girl" (wonderfully accomplished but “unfortunately dusky” in the parlance of the time and place); another takes place among Jamaican immigrants in a London neighborhood in which an official is described as a "white woman”; a third is set among an earlier wave of immigration, the French in the late 18th century. Most of the mysterious events take place in England, from the 1700s to the present day. There are murders and stolen jewels, kidnapped dogs and a spoiled Carnival costume. Too many cases depend on the discovery of a stray piece of waste, but others feature the sharp eyes and logical skills of the young puzzle-solvers. Several, including the one from editor Katherine Woodfine, author of The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow (2016), feature characters from their authors’ mystery series, but otherwise there are no author biographies.
This appetizing assortment is a nifty invitation to further mystery-reading. (Mystery/short stories. 10-15)