Following The Wig in the Window (2013), preteen sleuths Sophie Young and Grace Yang are back for a second outing, joined by Trista Bottoms, this time investigating the death—and potentially the murder—of a man managing their major local parade.
Could the tyrannical supervisor of float construction be the perpetrator, perhaps driven by anger over the fact that her daughter has not been selected queen of the event? There are several other candidates for murderer as well, and each, the girls discover, has both some form of alibi and some kind of motivation to have done the deed. Occasionally assisted by Sophie's crush, Rod, the trio gets into and out of peril more than once. Complicating things, all three girls are selected to spend a weekend serving as assistants to the teenage girls of the parade's Royal Court. A new threat to their partnership emerges as Grace evinces interest in those popular girls, leaving narrator Sophie feeling as if this may be both their last case and the end of their deep bond. The team uncovers lots of clues (and numerous red herrings, too), which leads to a rather too lengthy tale. Nevertheless, the danger they encounter is remarkably believable, leading to a breathtaking climax and making up for some of the somewhat plodding twists and turns.
An entertaining mystery featuring kids who readily outsmart all the adults; what could be better? (Mystery. 9-12)