3 out of 4 stars
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Dash Quirke is known at school as Monster Girl because of her love of all things horror-related. She has a strong desire to become a private detective just like her late parents were. Chandler Quirke, Dash's older sister, is studying to be a lawyer but toys with the idea of being a magician as well. Together, the two sisters must raise each other while fighting crime and solving mysteries. The latest caper Dash is involved in is that of a missing girl from her school. With the help of her sister and friends, Dash tries to get to the bottom of the potential kidnapping while occasionally risking her life in the process.
I loved Sisters in Crime: A Quirke Detective Agency Novel by Deedee Messana. It's a fast-paced whodunnit mystery story involving a pleasantly quirky cast of characters. This is the first in a series and serves as a great introduction to the sisters. I'm always skeptical when books have children as the main characters, but this novel was a fun read and appropriate for a mature audience as well as for young adults. Dash Quirke is a fantastic narrator. She is witty and full of pop culture references from 1960, the year this book takes place.
I liked almost all aspects of this book. The characters were well-written. The plot made sense. There were a sufficient number of twists, and the mystery wasn't easily predicted. My favorite part of the book was the inner dialogue Dash had. Her thoughts were very comical, and she had many quotable moments. One example is when she said, "I was so rusty, an encounter with me would require a tetanus shot!"
Although the book is suitable for both young and old readers, I didn't enjoy the fact that the author added in obvious explanations of terms throughout the book. This was done through Dash's voice but still felt a bit unnatural and unnecessary. It made the book seem more as if it were written for a much younger audience, and that was not cohesive with the rest of the novel. This was my least favorite part of the book, because it took away from the rest of the story. The brief pauses to explain a term like shell shock, for example, that anyone reading would have heard of before, seemed silly to me.
Overall, this book seemed well-written, but I still found quite a few editing errors that should have been caught if it were professionally edited. These included instances like putting the word "wiring" instead of "writing" or omitting articles or prepositions. However, nothing distracted me so much that I wasn't still able to enjoy the story. Therefore, I give this book 3 out of 4 stars. I would recommend it to fans of detective novels and feel-good mysteries. I also think it is suitable for younger readers. It does have some darker content, so it may not be best for the very young to read. I had fun with this book and look forward to reading more in the series.
SISTERS IN CRIME: A Quirke Detective Agency Novel
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