________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 25. . . .March 5, 2010.


I So Don’t Do Mysteries.

Barrie Summy.
New York, NY: Random House (Distributed in Canada by Random House of Canada), 2008.
264 pp., pbk., $8.99.
ISBN 978-0-385-73603-9.

Subject Headings:
Mothers and daughters-Fiction.
Mystery and detective stories.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.





Finally, finally, my squashed lungs manage to suck in some air. Just in time too. My head’s spinning and starry from lack of oxygen. I lick my lips. Ewwww. Spit. Spit. Spit. My mouth is caked with dirt.

I feel a flutter.

“Sherry, pumpkin, are you okay?”

I wheeze, “Maybe.”

Then I stretch out ultracarefully on the scorching-hot ground. No broken bones. Raising my head on my nearly snapped neck, I watch the train move away. A few feet in front of me, my phone sparkles in the sunlight. I commando-crawl over, grab it and stick it to my ear. No sound. I blink at it. No screen graphics. I push the On button. Nothing. My phone is completely and totally defunct.

“Sherry, pumpkin, talk to me.”

I pull myself up to my feet and brush off. “Go away.” I cross my arms and stick my nose in the air. “I am so not speaking to you.”


I slide my finger and thumb across my closed lips like I’m zipping them, then throw away the pretend key.

My mother sighs.

     The rhinoceroses at the Wild Animal Park in San Diego are in danger. A chef in the area is after their meat while a group of seniors is after their horns. But the only ones who seem to care are 13-year-old Sherry (full name Sherlock Holmes Baldwin) and the two ghosts in her life.

     Sherry’s mother and grandpa have been dead for some time, but she can still communicate with them. If she wants to see her grandpa, all she has to do is look out the window and find the wren at the birdfeeder. And if she wants to summon her mom, she only needs to make coffee. This contact is all new and strange for Sherry, but she is doing her best to understand how the “other” world lives. By working with her mom and grandpa to save the rhinos, Sherry will be helping her mom develop skills in the afterlife and at the Academy of Spirits.

     Although Sherry’s attitude about her schoolwork and the smart kids in her class is a little hard to admire, her connection with the ghost world is intriguing, and her struggles with family and friends are realistic. Sherry isn’t very good with facing challenges, and she can be selfish at times, but she learns to be brave and selfless during her time in San Diego. She becomes much closer to her family, her best friend and her new boyfriend. And by the end of the book, it even looks like Sherry may have a future partnership with the Academy.

     Author Barrie Summy spent her early years in Canada. Today, she lives with her family in California.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.