When a mysterious saboteur threatens to shut down their school’s Olympic games, five young athletes put on their detective shoes.
Classmates Max, Alice, Nico, and twins Luke and Kat—a diverse crew, to judge from Brundage’s introductory portrait gallery and frequent, realistically drawn illustrations—are looking forward to their respective events in Franklin Elementary’s upcoming annual Olympics. But someone is sending threatening notes to the faculty organizers, and once the games begin, oiled grass on the relay route and a tug of war rope that is partially cut lead to dangerous falls. Who could the culprit be? Gathering fingerprints and other evidence, the young sleuths work together to eliminate one suspect and at last catch another red-handed. They are less successful in winning medals, but at the ensuing ceremony they earn a special “MVP” award for saving the games and decide to form a club. Along with plenty of sports action and sterling detective work to appreciate, Kelly offers readers a chance to ponder the contrast between the priorities of the culprit, a multimedalist from the previous year jealously unwilling to be upstaged, and Nico, who abruptly quits a race he’s about to win when he spots the saboteur at work. A quick set of facts and photos from the official Olympic Games cap this series opener.
This series opener is a promising venture into early Matt Christopher territory. (Mystery/sports fiction. 7-9)