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Debra Purdy Kong’s Review of Mayne Island Skeletons


Debra Kong‘s review

Jul 02, 13

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Young teen, Magda, has her hands full these days. Not only does she have a part-time job looking after a neighbor’s chickens, but she wants to investigate the truth behind an allegedly haunted house. There are rumors that the deceased owner was a nasty man whose wife and five children disappeared one day. Had they left him, or were they murdered?

Magda’s sleuthing skills are also needed in a very real problem when her friend Brent is accused of stealing First Nations artifacts from someone’s home. Brent’s been in trouble before and his mother has decided that he’s unmanageable, so Brent runs away to avoid jail or a foster home. The police and Magda’s mother pressure her to turn Brent in if she sees him, but Magda refuses. She intends to prove he’s innocent.

Mayne Island Skeletons is a mystery for readers aged ten to thirteen, or for reluctant readers. Mayne Island is one of the smaller southern Gulf Islands between Vancouver Island and BC’s mainland, and a terrific setting. There is a real community feel to this story and a pace that reflects the lifestyle of the 1,000+ residents.

Magda has common traits to any great sleuth: curiosity, intelligence, and bravery, but she also has a lot of compassion. Although this book deals with modern day issues such as neglectful mother, First Nations artifacts, and to a lesser degree, the melting ice caps and endangerment to polar bears (through letters from a friend in the Arctic), this book reminds me of a Nancy Drew novel. It’s partly because of the story’s pace but also because Magda’s so polite and well mannered; something not often see in novels today. On the other hand, you’d never see a neglectful mom or a First Nations issue in a Nancy Drew novel, so I’d call this book a lovely blend of old and new.

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