3 out of 4 stars
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Serendipity Mystery by R. F. Kristi is the seventh installment in the Diary of a Snoopy Cat series. Elementary children from the ages of seven to twelve would be interested in this book, and it can be read with the others in the series or alone. In the opening, a family tree is included and to explain the detective agency there is a statement about each animal who is associated with it. In this book, Inca and her family are on holiday in Sri Lanka when they receive news about a stolen antique sword from a museum. Being the detective feline she is, Inca sets out, with the support of old and new friends, to apprehend the crooks. Along with the missing sword, we further see Inca face her long-lost cousin the leopard and encounter rowdy monkeys on a safari.
This is my first in this series to read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I love cats and mysteries, and when the two are together, it becomes a winning combination for me. I liked how each creature had their own distinguished personality. Inca is the inquisitive one. Fromage is fun loving but continuously finds himself in trouble. Cara appreciates the more beautiful things in life. And Terrence is a dog ready to help solve any case. My favorite was Fromage who had a weakness for cheese. He informs his family they can have all the food they want in the basket and he will handle the cheese. It never crossed his mind that some may not like that idea.
Along with crime solving, there are themes of teamwork and courage as well. Inca encounters some harrowing experiences, and it is through her friends and her resolve that pull her through. Also sprinkled throughout are cultural and historical aspects of Sri Lanka. Inca and her family take a trip to a tea plantation, and the local attire of saris and sarongs are mentioned. Wildlife native to that island is discussed, giving the reader a general impression of all of what the country has to offer. I liked how the author used the story to broaden young readers' worldview and perception of themselves.
I have only a few negatives to say about the tale. The sentences at times were overly descriptive like "the beach was one long, golden sand belt leading to the frothy waves that were shared by both." There was one error with a missing word. Also, the format in my kindle edition was inconsistent in the headers for each day of Inca's journal. Most were separated into a gray box to delineate from rest of the text, but a few were not.
I give Serendipity Mystery a three out of four stars. There were cute illustrations throughout that added to the narrative. There weren't as many as I would have liked, but what was there was fun to look at. I think this is an entertaining book for children and perfect for learning along the way. Despite the minor flaws, R. F. Kristi delivers a great addition to the Snoopy Cat series.
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