Shirley Link & The Safe Case

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Shirley Link & The Safe Case

Last Free Dates: 12th Nov 18 to 14th Nov 18
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...Written in first person, this is an enjoyable children's book...which can be enjoyed by young children for the characters, older ones for the mystery, and adults looking for light escapism. ...

Shirley Link is a great detective, and she’s only twelve. She’s been keeping the fact secret from her school life, until the Principal approaches her in the library: $30,000 dollars has gone missing from a safe in his office and he’s facing the sack. What can Shirley do but agree to find the money, especially as his likely successor is Shirley’s least favorite teacher of all. So helped and hindered by her friends, Marie and Wylie, she sets out to solve the case.

Written in first person, this is an enjoyable children’s book. Shirley is insightful, intelligent, and quite likely to rub people the wrong way: a veritable twelve-year-old Sherlock Holmes. With her mother a police officer and her father an archaeologist who takes her tomb raiding in the holidays, it was probably inevitable she’d develop odd interests. The characters aren’t described in detail but given that they are seen only through Shirley’s eyes, and she is twelve, that is understandable. There is enough there to get a picture of the cast and what’s going on behind the scenes, and it ends with the classic “all suspects in one place” resolution.

In terms of story, the plot hangs together well, and the resolution is believable. I didn’t solve it, because I over-thought it, but I still enjoyed the journey even though I’m hardly the target market. A picky older reader might wonder what the principal was doing with $30,000 in a safe not a bank, why such a good detective can’t get a pass to make class up if she’s on a case, and why her mother isn’t tearing the teacher a new one for marking Shirley down for telling the truth…but since it all sets up a great locked room mystery, these little annoyances can be quickly forgiven.

The formatting is good, the cover striking and appropriate for the genre, and I didn’t spot any typos. The main short story makes up 65% of the ebook, and is followed by a short mystery for the reader to solve “The Cowgirl’s Keys”, which is a good short with a pagebreak before the solution. Then there are fifty riddles, which are original as far as I can tell, but while they are fun it does seem a little like padding for page count. Then at the end there’s a link to get the next ebook in the series for free.

I’d probably place Shirley Link’s target audience at ages 7-12, though the reference to an affair might pitch it at the higher end of that.Some of the references will date the book, e.g. a reference to a console that has already been replaced, but the inclusion of modern technology is part of the solution was good, and so true to life that I laughed.

In conclusion it is a good short story, which can be enjoyed by young children for the characters, older ones for the mystery, and adults looking for light escapism.

This book was featured in the newspaper column - click for details
Rating: 4
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