Four kids solve a theft of jewelry in this series opener.
When 12-year-old Sophia Boyd decides to auction off the North Star necklace, a family heirloom, to support a fundraiser for a sanctuary for endangered gibbons, the necklace is stolen at a party held to preview it. Twins Zach and Evie Mamuya, the biracial children of a deceased Tanzanian-immigrant cop dad and white crime-reporter mom, along with their South Asian friend Vishal Desai, wind up at the crime scene with the twins’ mother, ready to investigate. After finding a magnet used to open safes, the young self-appointed detectives, along with Sophia, decide to take matters into their own hands and question the guests who attended the party. Following much trial and error (punctuated by the occasional lesson in American racism patiently delivered by the three kids of color to wide-eyed, white Sophia), their path of investigation leads them to the unlikely conclusion that the stolen necklace changed more than one pair of hands after it was taken. As a whodunit, the story underwhelms; readers are unlikely to be able to follow the clues and red herrings to the solution and so will be stumbling along with the characters. Character development takes second place to plotting, furthering dissatisfaction.
A dry plot with little investment in character development makes for a weak detective story. (Mystery. 8-12)