Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Marshmallow Hammer Detective Agency: The Mysterious Case of the Golden Egg by Ernie Lindsey

This is such a cute middle-school detective book! It's not like the five-findouters, which was safe although they got into some pretty precarious situations, it's not one of those gritty type of stories. It's a bit more complicated than that.

Hat (full name Halcyone Acasia Tintersmoot), receives a golden egg from a grandfather for her 12th birthday, three years after he died. The mystery would be to solve the mystery of the golden egg. So in that sense, there's no sense of danger to the book - it's more like solving a series of riddles. Helping her is her new friend Frank, who has a photographic memory.

Yet, there's something darker. Hat's new friend and assistant Frank, comes from a broken home. His dad is in jail, and his mom is probably an alcoholic and abusive. Hat doesn't recognise this, but her dad other adults do and I'm pretty sure older readers will. If you're going to talk danger, then there is the very real danger of Frank getting seriously injured by his mother (she slaps in him the book when angry, so there's the possibility that things will get worse before they get better).

I think that bringing in the possibility of child abuse into an otherwise safe world makes this book much more realistic. This world that Hat lives in isn't some safe fictional world where bad things are clearly defined - bad people are near her. She doesn't explicitly recognise this (although she definitely doesn't like his mom), but it's something that hit me.

To bring some balance to the book, Hat has an extremely loving family. She's expected to be responsible, her parents love her, they trust her, I have a feeling that she's going to grow up happily, in uneventfully. But I'd rather take the happy ending than one full of pain.

I'm looking forward to reading more of this series - I'd like to see what happens as Hat and Frank grow up.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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