On a family ski trip, two middle-school gumshoes try to solve the mystery of stolen Olympic medals in this fourth installment of a series.
For best friends Whiz Tanner and Joey Dent, both 12, visiting a ski lodge with their families is the first vacation they’ve had since starting their detective agency earlier in the school year. But as readers of this series might expect, detective work finds them. Former Olympic skiers Harrison Revel and his brother, Benjamin, helped build the Marsh River Mountain Ski Resort; on display in the lobby are their three medals of bronze, silver, and gold. A small crowd gathers as Harrison opens the case and shows the medals to the kids. That night, the lodge gets snowed in by a blizzard—and in the morning, the medals are missing. The case that held them is discovered in the garbage, but that’s the only clue, because the lobby’s security cameras are down. The Tanner-Dent Detective Agency swings into action with some help from other kids at the resort, Madilynn (“Madi”) and her younger brother, Wyatt. They develop and whittle down a list of suspects, lift fingerprints, and set a trap for the most likely culprit. Can they prevent him from fleeing with the loot? Rexroad (Whiz Tanner and the Mysterious Countdown, 2019, etc.) varies his winning formula with a new setting outside the Jasper Springs Museum, a good way to keep things fresh, with the snowed-in lodge providing a reason that adult authorities can’t get involved. The briskly moving story shows solid sleuthing in the details of acquiring fingerprints, checking alibis, and eliminating suspects. It’s not groundbreaking—the super-glue method of raising prints has been around for decades, for example—but it’s realistic. These well-described scenes help make up for an absent feature of the adventure series, the fancy Tanner-Dent crime lab. The two friends make a good team; Joey’s regular-kid narrative voice contrasts well with Whiz’s precise diction and large vocabulary. Joey also brings courage and ability to action scenes.
Enjoyable writing and effective detective work stand out in this series entry.