It’s a new semester at Kilter Academy. Trouble’s brewing; it’s everyone’s favorite subject.
Last semester, Seamus Hinkle found that he didn’t inadvertently kill Miss Parsippany, the substitute teacher at his old school, much to his relief. Now he wants to leave Kilter, which parents think is a reform school (but which is actually a school for Troublemakers), and return to regular school…until he discovers something disturbing about his mother. He returns to Kilter and the rooms he shares with his three friends, but Elinor (niece of Annika Kilter, the academy’s enigmatic founder) isn’t returning. Through K-mail (Kilter’s answer to email), Seamus tries to find out why Elinor’s absent and seeks advice on dealing with parents from Miss Parsippany. Meanwhile, he gets a special assignment from Annika to spy on history teacher Mr. Tempest, who periodically goes missing. What he really wants to do is find out why Elinor’s so uncommunicative. Burns’ second volume in her Merits of Mischief series will be totally incomprehensible to those who haven’t recently read the first. Seamus’ exposition-heavy K-mail conversations interrupt the tale at every turn, and the characters don’t see any development. The constant barrage of Bond-like devices, many of which are ludicrous, simply draws attention to the tale’s attempts at cleverness rather than actually delivering it.
Only fans of the first need try; likely even some of them will be disappointed. (Adventure. 9-12)