CM . . . .
Volume I Number 14 . . . . September 15, 1995
Mystery of the Gold Ring
Richmond Hill, ON: Scholastic, 1995.
128pp, paper, $4.99.
Detective and mystery stories.
Grades 4 - 7 / Ages 9 - 12.
Review by Ian McLaren
Max stared at her. So did Sadie. Clarice didn't usually share her
investigations with outsiders. Sadie hoped Clarice hadn't succumbed to
Max's oily charm.
"We saw a kid jump the fence and run into the Ariadne," whispered
Clarice. "The only kids in the hotel are your bunch."
Max chuckled. "No way. A kid couldn't pull off a serious crime like
that. And even if he could, I'm sure it isn't a member of the band." He
raised his eyebrows at the three sleuths. "But what's it to you, anyway."
"We're detectives," said Clarice. "We solve crimes."
The Mystery of the Gold Ring is the fourth in the "O'Brien
Detective Agency" series. Like its predecessors, it stars Clarice O'Brien
as the hard-driving leader of the group (her code name is "Number One"),
Sadie Stewart as the brains of the outfit, and Brick as the sleepy-eyed,
quiet, but useful brawn. In this episode, the three sleuths (all around
twelve or thirteen years of age) are on holiday in Greece with Sadie's
parents. During their stay, a priceless ring is stolen from a local
museum. The evidence seems to point to one of the kids from a Canadian
school band who are also staying at the hotel. Of course, the three heroes are
the only ones with the ability to solve this mystery.
If this sounds like a pre-teen Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew mystery,
well . . . it is. To a one-time Hardy Boys fan, the elements are eerily
familiar. Unlikely scenarios (how often did your friend's parents take
you with them to Greece?), inept police departments, and apparently
supernatural forces at work make these stories go. Lest I sound too
harsh, let me say that James Heneghan's intended audience will quite
happily overlook some of the implausibilities, since they make the story
Heneghan makes no bones about this being a Canadian story. Many
references are made to sites in the Vancouver area (where Heneghan lives)
and the main reason the children want to solve this case is to preserve
the honour of Canadians everywhere. If you want your kids to read
Canadian content, look no further. Heneghan also manages to weave a fair
amount of Greek history, geography, and mythology into this novel. . . .
Without realizing it, the reader could end up learning something.
The Mystery of the Gold Ring is a very readable, well-narrated pre-teen mystery. Though it has
a certain stock quality, it's non-violent, interesting, and even
Recommended, with reservations.
Ian McLaren is an elementary teacher living in Pincher Creek, Alberta.
To comment on this title or this review, send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association.
Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice
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