Seven-year-old Alice-Miranda returns in a jaunty adventure that combines mystery and theatrics.
Upon returning to boarding school after break, Alice-Miranda discovers several new mysteries to solve. A contentious new arrival, a neglected estate in the woods and an upcoming school play add intrigue to the new school term. Although the girls at Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale Academy for Proper Young Ladies are looking forward to collaborating with students from the nearby boys’ school on the play, a perplexing series of complications quickly emerges. Sloane, the school’s newest student, has an ulterior agenda. Her tasteless, social-climbing mother, determined to achieve wealth and social prominence, has devised a scheme that threatens to close the boys’ school. Naturally, Alice-Miranda seeks to uncover the truth. Harvey deftly incorporates clues for discerning readers so that the story’s dramatic conclusion is believable. Ultimately, it is Alice-Miranda’s act of kindness, when she compassionately befriends a lonely woman, that provides the key to solving the dilemma. Both fans of the previous stories and readers new to this series will enjoy the diminutive sleuth’s ability to solve problems with a signature blend of friendliness and clever ingenuity.
Harvey’s tale, featuring a comically inept, melodramatic villainess and a precocious heroine who is unfailingly kindhearted, will captivate readers. (Mystery. 7-11)