Amanda Lester Pinkby Paula Berinstein

Published May 22nd 2015 by The Writing Show

4 STARS

Publisher: Twelve-year-old Amanda Lester wouldn’t be caught dead going into the family business. Just because she’s related to Inspector G. Lestrade, that bumbler who sometimes worked with master sleuth Sherlock Holmes, doesn’t mean she should become a detective and give up her dream of becoming a filmmaker. Unfortunately, her plans are in jeopardy. Her latest project with the Stick Dog Filmmakers Club and Production Company isn’t coming together, and her control freak tendencies have driven away all her actors. If she doesn’t make a winning film soon, her parents will insist that she go into the L.A.P.D. young cadets training program, and her budding career will be over. So when Herb and Lila Lester suddenly send her to a secret English school for the descendants of famous detectives, Amanda resists-until she and her new friends notice drops of blood and weird pink substances in odd places. Are these strange happenings clues to a real mystery or simply part of the elaborate class project the teachers assign every year? The answer comes all too soon. When Amanda’s father disappears and the school’s cook is found dead with her head in a bag of sugar, the kids are certain that crimes are taking place. Now Amanda must embrace her destiny and uncover the truth. The only snag is that arch-villain Blixus Moriarty, a descendant of Holmes’s nemesis Professor James Moriarty, might be involved, and he doesn’t like nosy little girls interfering in his business.

My Review: Twelve year old Amanda Lester is a descendant from G. Lestrade, a detective that worked with Sherlock Homes. Her father, Herb, is a detective and her mother, Lila, is a well-known author of detective novels. Is it any wonder that Amanda wants nothing to do with the detective world. She wants to make movies and living outside Los Angeles is the place to do it, that is until the family moves to the UK and she is enrolled in a secret school for detectives. Only descendants of famous detective families are allowed in, but Amanda wants out, until ….

The school seems rather strict and she has no choice what team she is on or who her roommates will be but she has lucked out. When they find blood droplets, pink sugar, the garage explodes and the cook gets murdered, Amanda and her friends are up to their eyeballs in clues to solve the mystery. But, is this a real crime or just part of the elaborate crime set up each year for the students to solve. When Amanda’s father disappears, she begins breaking the rules to save him.

Move over Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon, this is an updated to the twenty-first century female buddy crime solving series. Amanda’s friends are loyal and smart, her nemesis is handsome and sometimes smart. She uses both her detecting skills and her movie knowledge to find clues to solve the mystery. Her friends stick by her even when she is wrong and does not tell them what is going on. She learns to trust others and use their skills as well as her own.

I thought the cast of kids that make up Amanda’s circle of friends were well done and entertaining. There’s just enough drama, puppy love, and special skills between the lot of them to draw in a young reader. There’s also a good bit of danger. There were some spots that seemed a little long and too drawn out, but overall the plot was engaging and moved well. After the story, there’s a listing of famous sleuths, both fictional and real, and their claims to fame as well as a list of book club questions for young readers. The beginning of the book included information such as the types of classes etc which I believe would have worked better at the end of the book. To be honest, I skimmed them and went back and looked at them later in the book.

This would be a great series for girls looking for a hero or role model in the 9 to 12 year old range. It might pull in some of the boys as well.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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