A funny, fast-paced mystery with many Singapore-specific details that provide cultural flavor.

SHERLOCK SAM AND THE MISSING HEIRLOOM IN KATONG

From the Sherlock Sam series , Vol. 1

A new kid-detective series offers a cross-cultural twist.

Samuel Tan Cher Lock is a Chinese boy growing up in Singapore. He prefers to go by Sherlock Sam after his hero, Sherlock Holmes. While ever hungry narrator Sam will be familiar to many food-crazy Singaporeans, American readers may get frustrated at the numerous unfamiliar terms such as kaya toast and Khong Guan biscuits (“biscuits” actually refers to cookies); the lengthy and informative glossary will help. Hopefully Sam's knack for digging up details and smart deductions will keep readers flipping the pages. Regardless, this food-related mystery is a perfect introduction to the series. Auntie Kim Lian has promised to cook Sam’s favorite dish, ayam buah keluak (chicken cooked in black nut sauce), but her family cookbook is missing and she can’t make it without the recipe! Sam is determined to find the cookbook and have ayam buah keluak for dinner. Together with his crew—wisecracking robot Watson, big sister Wendy, and classmate Jimmy—Sam retraces Auntie Kim Lian’s steps all over the Katong neighborhood. After a day of sleuthing, everyone is ready to give up. However, Sherlock Sam has a stroke of genius and solves the mystery—at a restaurant no less! In addition to a smattering of black-and-white line drawings that liven up the story, the glossary in the back explains both the Singapore slang and foods mentioned in the book. The sequel, Sherlock Sam and the Ghostly Moans in Fort Canning, publishes simultaneously.

A funny, fast-paced mystery with many Singapore-specific details that provide cultural flavor. (list of characters) (Mystery. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4494-7789-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Nicely paced, with just the right number of red herrings to keep readers thinking; they will hope the number 1 on the spine...

THE DIAMOND MYSTERY

From the Whodunit Detective Agency series , Vol. 1

Jerry and Maya, classmates and friends, spend their spare time solving mysteries in their hometown of Pleasant Valley in this Swedish import.

Things are not so pleasant for Mohammed Carat, the richest man in Pleasant Valley. His world-famous jewelry store is losing money; apparently, one of his employees is stealing valuable diamonds and gems. The police are no help, so Mr. Carat turns to the youngsters for help. Each employee is a suspect: Vivian is in money trouble, former owner Danny wants his store back, and Luke’s flashy spending is suspicious. Jerry and Maya are hired to help out around the shop—washing windows, taking out the trash and so forth—but really they are there to watch the employees, both from inside the shop and from the church tower next door. Young mystery aficionados will enjoy solving the puzzle along with Maya and Jerry and will admire their observational powers. Full-color cartoon illustrations add much to the story, helping readers to see what the young gumshoes do. A map of Pleasant Valley and an illustrated cast of characters are provided in the early pages, allowing new readers an excellent reference tool to keep the many characters straight.

Nicely paced, with just the right number of red herrings to keep readers thinking; they will hope the number 1 on the spine indicates that this is the first of many Maya and Jerry mysteries. (Mystery. 7-9)

Pub Date: July 31, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48067-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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Wholesome, uncomplicated fare for the younger Matt Christopher crowd.

THE MISSING BASEBALL

From the Zach and Zoe Mysteries series , Vol. 1

Lupica kicks off a new series starring a pair of 8-year-old twins who solve sports-themed mysteries.

Even the pleasures of competing in various events during his school’s Spirit Week dim a smidge for Zach Walker when the prized autographed baseball he brings to his third-grade class for show and tell vanishes. Happily, his bookish but equally sports-loving sister, Zoe, is on the case, and by the time of the climactic baseball game at week’s end, she has pieced together clues and deductions that lead to the lost treasure—which had not been stolen but batted through an open window by the teacher’s cat and stashed in a storage shed by the custodian. In the co-published sequel, The Half-Court Hero, the equally innocuous conundrum hangs on the identity of the mysterious “guardian angel” who is fixing up a run-down playground basketball court. Along with plenty of suspenseful sports action, the author highlights in both tales the values of fair play, teamwork, and doing the “right thing.” The Walker family presents white, but in both the narrative and Danger’s appropriately bland (if inappropriately static) illustrations, the supporting cast shows some racial and ethnic diversity.

Wholesome, uncomplicated fare for the younger Matt Christopher crowd. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-425-28936-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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