Is Black Heart’s treasure still on Skull Island?
Twelve-year-old twins Cody and Otis Carson are excited that they and their supersmart cousin Rae Lee get to visit their great-aunt on Calavera ("skull" in Spanish) Island in the Caribbean. Since they love a good mystery, they're even happier when they learn that the inn she owns, which has been plagued by problems since opening, is supposed to be haunted by the ghost of a pirate looking for his treasure. Strange things begin happening as soon as they arrive, and all six guests at the inn seem to be hiding something. Secret passageways, ghostly footsteps, secret identities and a snooty teen idol keep things interesting as the double detectives follow the clues. Norris, pen name for Clue series scribe Dona Smith, kicks off a new series of inoffensive whodunits with a cartoon-style mystery: think Scooby Doo minus talking dog, musical chase scenes and most of the laughs. Wooden characters, stilted dialogue and a few too many scenes of eavesdropping make this simply plotted and paced clue-crawler best for newly fledged mystery mavens rather than sophisticated sleuths.
Fans can follow the twins to the Amazon, Paris and the Rockies later this year…if they haven’t found something better. (Mystery. 8-11)