This mystery should come with sheet music and a dance chart.
A ghost is haunting the girls’ bathroom at Pine Lake Academy, but that isn’t the interesting part of the story. The interesting thing is that she’s singing “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” Anyone who drinks the water ends up possessed, and even a manly young detective like Raf Hernandez finds himself saying, “How I love the Turkey Trot! But Auntie says the Turkey Trot and the Grizzly Bear are vulgar and will corrupt today’s youth.” Some authors might stop at that level of quirkiness, but Robbins gets wilder and more inventive as the story goes on—even in a book with a talking dog in the first chapter. In Chapter 4, to solve the mystery, the dog allows himself to be possessed by not one, but two ghosts, who can’t stop arguing. Haunted plumbing doesn’t scare him. “Us dogs always drink from toilet bowls,” he says. Not every page contains a surprise. The conclusion is oddly mundane; it has to do with the disposition of a household object. But then, the mystery is beside the point. Who needs detective work when an entire ghostly orchestra shows up for the final chapter?
Mystery lovers will be perplexed, but fans of the series will line up for the next book, and their grandparents will hope it comes with a vinyl record. (Graphic mystery. 9-14)