As in series opener Friday Barnes, Girl Detective (2016), instead of just one mystery, Friday confronts a series of strange happenings in her school, posh Highcrest Academy.
First, Friday finds herself under arrest for terrorism charges. The white schoolgirl quickly uses her encyclopedic knowledge and Holmes-ian sleuthing skills to escape the clutches of the police, but who could have framed her? At school, a series of holes dug all over the campus threatens to injure passing pedestrians, while a new boy, Christopher, charms everyone, especially Friday. She knows that the headmaster would love to find an excuse to expel her, but Friday keeps solving mysteries until she finally discovers why those holes have been appearing and learns the secret identities of some people no one suspected. Spratt continues to hit just the right mix of dry humor and suspense. Her characterization of her protagonist shines: an 11-year-old prodigy with quirky taste in fashion who might just have some real emotional needs lurking under that confident exterior. Readers know that, like Sherlock Holmes, Friday will solve every mystery; the book’s fun is in seeing how she does it. Beneath the fun, Spratt explores questions of class; working-class Friday feels out of sync with the entitled students who surround her.
A cliffhanger ending will have readers drumming their fingers as they wait for the next episode. (Mystery. 8-12)