Review Blog

Jun 20 2013

Vanishing acts: A Maggie Brooklyn mystery by Leslie Margolis

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Vanishing acts: A Maggie Brooklyn mystery by Leslie Margolis
Bloomsbury, 2013. ISBN 9781599909813.
(Ages: 8-12) Recommended. This mystery story has no superspies or gadgets, just ordinary kids in a familiar setting doing what we want kids to do, observing, thinking, investigating, questioning and researching, whilst attending school and battling parents about after school commitments and homework.
Maggie Brooklyn is a 12 year-old who has a twin brother Finn and walks dogs after school for busy neighbours. She successfully solved a dognapping case (the first Maggie Brooklyn mystery, Girl's best friend) so when dogs are being egged at the local park Maggie is enlisted by a fellow school student to investigate. At the same time teenage heartthrob Seth Ryan (think Justin Bieber lookalike) is filming his latest movie in town. Maggie's friends convince her and Finn to join them as extras on set. Maggie's career as an extra is short lived, however she does meet the star Seth Ryan.
When Seth disappears, Maggie is determined to find him especially as she learns more about him.
In the meantime there are personal issues to resolve like why is her best friend Lucy acting so strangely; what is Finn, her twin brother, not telling her; and why is Milo, who she thought might be boyfriend material, ignoring her?
The author has developed a witty and independent character in Maggie who narrates the story. The interactions with other characters are believable, especially the devotion of the Seth Ryan fans and the developing friendships between Milo and Maggie and Finn and Lucy.
As a fan of the detective story genre it is pleasing to see that younger readers will have the opportunity to develop a taste for the genre with intelligent and witty investigators long before they are old enough to appreciate the likes of Stephanie Plum, Janet Evanovich's feisty female lead character.
Sue Keane

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