The Jane Yolen of the precious fairy tales tries her hand here at the kid detective story and turns out the standard, fast-reading product she apparently intended. Shirli, who hates her name, becomes Shirlick (though she would have it Shirlock) when George next door, the police chief's son, challenges her to solve the case of furniture stolen from three local summer homes. She and three friends are reprimanded by "chiefy" (George's father) for entering one of the vacant homes, but they can't resist "staking out" another they have pegged for the next hit. This time the thieves enter when the kids are inside, and Shirli, hiding in an old wardrobe, is carted away to an auction. There's a bit of feminist fun-making when George must agree to become an "honorary girl" in order to join the detectives. This, like the rest of the story, goes down painlessly.