Someone is stealing rare maps from the New York Public Library, and a preteen detective is on the case.
Twelve-year-old Devlin’s mother is New York City’s police commissioner, which gives her definite sleuthing advantages. It’s summer, and Dev and her mother, who are white, are hosting a student from Argentina, Liza. After Liza witnesses a man cutting a page from a rare collection of maps in the New York Public Library, Dev sets out with single-minded determination to solve the case, also enlisting the help of her African-American friend, Booker Dibble. As she says: “I sort of have investigative instincts in my genes.” (And for the librarians, teachers, and booksellers out there, Dev also has “a love for reading, for everything about books.”) Dev attends private school and leads a privileged life. Access to forensic labs at 1 Police Plaza is a plus, as is her wealthy, ’60s-activist grandmother, who is also a library trustee. Fairstein, a longtime Manhattan prosecutor and author of popular adult detective stories, transitions well in this opener to her first series for kids. She throws in local flavor, an abandoned subway station, and a healthy dose of texting and safe online activities in a well-crafted detective tale.
This likable gumshoe follows the trail from the library lions on 42nd Street to Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Building, and readers will be happy to go right along with her. (Mystery. 9-12)