A mystery, some cupcakes, and an unexpected twist!
Synopsis of Frankie Dupont and The Mystery Of Enderby Manor by Julie Anne Grasso*: When his cousin Kat disappears from Enderby Manor, Frankie Dupont jumps on the case. Bumbling Inspector Cluesome is convinced that Kat is lost in Myrtle’s Mesmerising Maze, but Frankie isn’t buying it. He follows the evidence trail to a conniving concierge, a six fingered chef, a talking parrot, a mad maid and a shifty dwarf, and quickly finds himself in a desperate race to recover Kat before her time runs out… An exciting new illustrated middle grade mystery series for children aged 8-10.
My two centsFrankie Dupont loves to investigate strange happenings. When his cousin Kat disappears when she and her family are on vacation at the nearby Enderby Manor, Frankie is on the case right away!
Despite Inspector Cluesome being already on the case, Frankie knows that he can help because he knows Kat so well. He hops over to Enderby Manor ... and wonders why he has never seen or heard of this place before? And why is the place so run down?
As he does his own investigating, going around the manor's grounds and rooms, getting more clues from the staff at the manor, he knows that Cluesome is on totally the wrong track! Frankie also realizes that Kat's disappearance isn't as simple as it seems. In this mystery begging to be solved, he must find her before it's too late ... for everyone!
What I likedThis is the second book that I've read that's authored by Julie Anne Grasso. And I have to say that she definitely knows her readers.
The storyline is really appealing. There's enough action, enough unpredictability, a twist, and enough of the cute factor to keep middle grade readers entertained. While it starts out as a simple case of someone missing, I loved how this story moved at a really good clip and incorporated some fantasy too -- I totally lapped it up!
I also loved the little "cute" touches. Like the idea of using cupcakes as a lure (c'mon, all kids love cupcakes!). Or the the incorporation of a pet into the storyline (who doesn't want a pet chameleon?).
The characters are memorable. While I found that some stereotypes are reinforced, I think middle-graders will love the familiarity of a detective character. Frankie fits right into the detective mold but he's also characterized as a smart kid making nerdy "cool." Of course the bad guy is also a detective -- but gone wrong -- in the the bumbling Inspector Cluesome and Frankie shows up Cluesome (adults can be pretty clueless sometimes ;)).
As we get to know the characters, the bottom line is that they are a strange lot and this makes for some very interesting reading. I don't want to spoil things for you as they make their appearance; I found them alternately funny, quirky, and even strangely tragic.
There's a lot to look forward to. There is the promise of more from Frankie Dupont. If this first book is any indication of what the series holds for readers, then I'm pretty pumped!
VerdictA cute, unpredicable and fantastical mystery at an old manor, solved by the dashing Frankie Dupont, promises to be a mystery series that middle-grade readers will love.
Thank you to Julie Anne Grasso for a review copy!