Review also includes:
Mariella Mystery Investigates: A Cupcake Conundrum, 978-1444008906
Mariella, aged nine and a half, has her own detective agency with friends Poppy and Violet. She keeps a record of each investigation in a special top-secret journal. In The Ghostly Guinea Pig, she sets out to resolve the case of teacher Miss Crumble who is acting strangely, convinced she’s seen the ghost of her dead guinea pig glowing in the dark. Soon after this, there’s a sighting in the village of another ghostly guinea pig. Bewilderingly, the case becomes ever more complicated when Mariella and her team notice strange goings-on at the local pet shop. In A Cupcake Conundrum, Violet, alongside four other competitors, enters the arduous Bake or Break competition. At every challenge, something unusual happens, so awakening Mariella’s suspicions of sabotage. Might the culprit be one of the competitors, determined to skew the results?
The stories, or journals, written from Mariella’s point of view, show her as a feisty and sympathetic character. They incorporate a mix of fiction and non-fiction, words and pictures about the case under discussion, her daily life and preoccupations. Small chunks of text, posters, labelled diagrams, instructions, biographies and wonderfully quirky drawings work well together to create a suspenseful adventure – with, even, tips on setting up a detective agency. Divided into short chapters and with a line space between paragraphs, the stories are ideal for building stamina in newly independent readers.