Sunday, December 6, 2009

Into the Dark by Peter Abrahams

This is a children's book, but don't let that fool you, it packs a punch.

Plot: Ingrid is a devotee to Sherlock Holmes novels and seems to find one mystery after another. Her Grandfather is a war hero who is having issues with a local corporation trying to buy out his land. While out with a friend Ingrid stumbles upon a dead body on her Grandfather's farm and now must prove his innocence. Clue after clue leads Ingrid to the alibi she needs to clear her Grandfather, only he refuses to tell the truth. While this is going on, her parents break up, and her dog gets kidnapped. Can Ingrid keep her wits about her before it's too late?

I really enjoyed this novel. It had a good pace with 26 chapters and 300 pages. The characters were solid, which they would be as this is the third installment in the Echo Falls series.

You follow Ingrid exclusively as she pieces together the clues of dates, times and logic. The fact the character is a 13 year old girl lends to the quirks and pitfalls of letting something that might be obvious to an adult, expand as the next part of the puzzle.
Her sidekick shifts from her dog to her best friend, but you never feel the shift as jarring.
Using the subplot of the school play as a backdrop foreshadows the crime so subtly you don't realize it till you are in the last chapter. Brilliant.
The use of direct quotes from various Sherlock Holmes novels helps to link together plot points that would otherwise seem overlooked. It's easy to get behind the characters and it's clear who's side you should be routing for.

There was only one thing in this novel I did not like, that was the whip cracking housekeeper. It was a new take on the bad guy, but she was almost an after thought, brought in within the last two chapters.

I would recommend getting the other two novels as well, Down the Rabbit Hole and Behind the Curtain as there were references to things that happened in the past novels. Otherwise this works well as a stand alone piece.

As I said in the beginning, this is listed as a children's book, but adults who enjoy a good who done it will find it a nice bit of entertainment.

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