In this second Laura Marlin mystery, the action moves to Antigua. After mysteriously winning a free holiday for herself and her Uncle (on which Tariq and her beloved three-legged husky Skye accidentally accompany her), Laura encounters puzzling problems as soon as the ship casts off – problems which culminate in the kidnap of her Uncle by the Straight A gang. Following a hunch, Laura and Tariq fly to Montserrat only to get drawn into a deadly game with Marine Concern, a front for an illegal global fishing industry. They escape to face a further menace – an erupting volcano. Eventually, Laura is able to enjoy her dream holiday, but only after defeating the sinister threat from the Straight A gang with the help of Jimmy Garnett, a boy who is transformed from awkward child to reliable friend in the course of the narrative.
The settings of Antigua and Montserrat are brought to life through vivid descriptions, while the scientific information provided by the volcanologist Rupert has been meticulously researched. Tension is sustained as threatening events follow in quick succession and Laura proves herself more than a match for the challenges.
Written in brief, fast-paced chapters, most of which end with a cliff hanger, this book lends itself to reading aloud to upper Junior school pupils. It would also provide exciting independent reading for any 8-11 year olds who enjoy detective novels or who are concerned about the oceans’ endangered marine species. Laura Marlin fans who loved Dead Man’s Cove and who have eagerly awaited the sequel will not be disappointed.