4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Serendipity Mystery: Diary of a Snoopy Cat by R.F. Kristi is a detective novel aimed at seven to twelve year olds. It follows Inca — “the world’s best detective cat” — and her family as they holiday in Sri Lanka. They’re keen to see the sights, including an antique sword at a local museum. Unfortunately, the sword and other treasures are stolen! It’s up to Inca and her sleuthing animal friends to track them down and stop the thieves!
I thought Serendipity Mystery was a great, rollicking read. Its illustrations are adorable, the writing is pacy and witty and the characters are likable. Inca herself is self-assured, dramatic and very French (meals are always a priority). I found her commentary on everyone and everything particularly funny. The diary format (short daily entries) is perfect for bedtime stories, though the language is simple enough for older children to read, with some harder, vocabulary-building words, like “oust” and “trishaw”, sprinkled in. I especially liked how Kristi flags clues to help young readers unravel the mystery with Inca.
I also appreciated the educational value of Serendipity Mystery. Kristi deftly weaves facts about Sri Lanka into the story, along with evocative descriptions of village life, jungles and ancient temples! Inca even meets local animals, giving us a chance to learn about Sri Lankan wildlife! Kristi has a light touch, so these messages don’t distract from the story, but they still offer valuable learning opportunities. Inca’s affection for her family, and the book’s positive messages about the importance of teamwork are also very sweet.
Unfortunately, there were a couple of loose ends that could have been tied up, which is my only complaint. But since Kristi teases the possibility of a sequel, they may well be wrapped up in a future book. I hope so!
In any case, Serendipity Mystery was good fun. There’s some mild peril, which might be scary for very young or sensitive children, but, overall, it is a lighthearted mystery that should appeal to most seven to twelve year olds (and their adults). The illustrations are cute and the writing is funny and snappy, while the characters and story are wholesome and educational. Really, what’s not to like? I give this book four out of four stars.
Serendipity Mystery: Diary of a Snoopy Cat
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon