Brilliant new mystery series for young readers
Mariella Mystery is a fabulous creation and her voice shines through the novel beautifully. She's what you might call a 'take charge' kind of girl (we won't say bossy...) and tells her story in a very no nonsense way. The book is presented as her "young super sleuth's journal", with occasional highly entertaining extracts from "The Young Super Sleuth's Handbook", and 'case reports' from her investigations [teacher-mode aside: I could imagine using this book with an upper primary group to talk about fiction and non-fiction and simply to enjoy the story!]. Mariella is clearly the leader of her little gang, the Mystery Girls, although her friends Poppy and Violet are not mere passive sidekicks. Little girls will love this book and there is plenty of good role model stuff here; it's definitely a weak-female-character-free zone!
The plot is ever so slightly mad in the best possible way. The ghostly guinea pigs are never genuinely portrayed as threatening or scary, and the conclusion leaves the reader with nothing to be afraid of, in the best Scooby Doo tradition.
Overall, this is a great package for the target age range, and I would absolutely recommend it. I'll be reviewing the second in the series, Mariella Mystery Investigates a Cupcake Conundrum, soon.
From the publisher's website:Meet Mariella Mystery - no mystery too mysterious, no problem too perplexing. The first title in a debut series perfect for 7+ girls and fans of Clarice Bean.
Mariella Mystery (That's me!) - totally amazing girl detective, aged 9 and a bit. Able to solve the most mysterious mysteries and perplexing problems, even before breakfast.
When their teacher Miss Crumble spots the ghost of her pet guinea pig, Mr Darcy, in her back garden, she doesn't know what to think. But Mariella knows it's up to her and her fellow Mystery Girls to get to the bottom of The Case of the Ghostly Guinea Pig.