The Midnight Tunnel by Angie Frazier

80955745Lynn: Eleven-year-old Suzanna Snow has a busy schedule!  Her parents who manage the swanky Rosemount Hotel in Loch Harbor, New Brunswick, are intent on training Zanna to someday run the hotel.  Zanna is busy all day doing everything from fetching the day’s catch from the docks for dinner to delivering tea and helping out in the kitchen.  But what Zanna REALLY wants to do is hone her detective skills so she can be an assistant to her Uncle Bruce – a famous detective in Boston.  It is 1904 and no one takes Zanna seriously – girls can’t be detectives!  Such a thing is right up there near the top of her mother’s taboo list, right along with revealing her ankles, befriending the servants and letting her imagination run away with her.  But when a 7-year-old guest disappears, it is Zanna with her sharp eye for clues that solves the mystery.

a-mystery-month-tag1Midnight Tunnel (Scholastic 2011) is a start of new mystery series and a really engaging entry on our feisty female list.  Frazier provides a nice array of clues and young readers will feel as if they are investigating the case along with Zanna, right up to some well-plotted surprises.  One of the nice features of this series is the unusual setting.  The story is as much historical fiction as it is mystery and the behind-the-scenes details of running a large hotel in the early 1900s is really eye-opening.  Zanna is a lively character and I loved her stubborn persistence and her notebook entries and detective rules.  A nice subplot about Zanna’s hero worship of her glamorous uncle with the feet of clay adds dimension too as Zanna grows up believably through the course of the mystery.

Mysteries are in high demand in our libraries for the 4th-7th grade set and this new series is a very welcome addition.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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