Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Curious Cat Spy Club, Book 5 - Dog-Gone Danger

I have been enjoying this series since the first book a few years back.  Yes, it takes some adjustment getting used to the stories being written in present tense; but, the stories are well-written and engaging, and the characters are fun and believable, so you quickly overlook the awkward verb tense (well, at least what I feel to be awkward - and it's funny, because I find myself automatically switching the verbs to past-tense as I read, since that is what I'm used to reading). Plus, the author is a big children's mystery and Nancy Drew fan, so she not only knows how to write a good children's mystery, but she pays a wonderful homage to those old series books in each and every one of her mysteries.  And while this fifth book as been a while in coming, it is finally here.

Dog-Gone Danger presents Kelsey and her friends with a couple of brand new mysteries - who abandoned a young dog in an abandoned barn and who kidnapped Kelsey's mom?! And, just like every good children's mysteries of days-gone-by, the mysteries ultimately come together and have a connection.

Now, here's the quandary - if a young teenager tells you something awful has happened to her mother, but all signs point to her mother simply taking off for a few days because of the harsh realities she is facing, who do you believe?  Before you answer, take into consideration that this young teenager and her friends have already proven themselves not only resourceful, but also insightful, by solving four prior mysteries where no one even necessarily believed a mystery existed.  Would that give her concerns for her mother and belief that she's been kidnapped a little more weight?  What would you do?  Give her the benefit of the doubt, or sit back and see if the adults' belief that her mother simply ran away from the hardships of life rather than face them was true or not?

Well, author Linda Joy Singleton proves that her young protagonist is not going to let the unbelief of her father, grandmother, sheriff, and friend's mother deter her from finding out what really happened to her mother.  Kelsey Case knows in her heart and in her gut that foul play is involved, and that it has something to do with a dog trafficking ring that she was investigating.  The only problem is, no one will believe her.  Becca and Leo believe her, and so once again, the Curious Cat Spy Club is on the case!  Which means the mystery of where the cute little pug they found in the abandoned farm came from will have to wait...

Singleton provides an interesting and sometimes tense mystery, with a lot of ups and downs and some surprising revelations about Kelsey's family and her parents' history.  Plus, let's face it, with chapter titles like "Risky Business" (Tom Cruise anyone?), "Blackberry Lane" (Judy Bolton's cat), "Larkspur Lane" (the 10th Nancy Drew book), and "Peggy Lane" (the 8-book series about an aspiring actress from Grosset & Dunlap back in the day), how could this not be a winner?  Plus, with comments from the sheriff like "Don't get any ideas about playing Nancy Drew" (p. 74) and finding out that a purebred dog's name is "Duchess Delphina of Snowship Songs" (p. 169 - look up the Susan Sand series for the Snowship Songs reference), it just adds to the children's book series geek's enjoyment of the book!

And, for what it's worth, page 119 of this mystery holds a very special honor for me, and while I'm not going to say what it is, let's just say it almost makes me wish I did have a dog named Mera (grin).

The conclusion of this mystery leads the CCSC to an old bed and breakfast described in true mystery style - Victorian with gables, turrets, and fancy trim around the windows, with an air of abandonment - grime-covered windows and weeds strangling the lawn. Which is another thing Singleton is good at - providing great descriptions to give the reader a clear picture without overloading you with too many adjectives or redundant details.

All in all, Singleton has another hit with this book - now to sit back and patiently (yeah, right) wait for the next book, where Kelsey and her friends will be on The Trail of the Ghost Bunny!

RATING:  10 Poly-Truth 2.0 pens out of 10 for another great mystery about a teenage detective and her two best friends who will follow her into any adventure!

1 comment:

  1. Great review. I read the first in this series and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm glad to see it moving from adventure to adventure, and this one sounds like a good puzzle.