Spencer, Octavia. The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit. (Randi Rhodes: Ninja Detective #1)
October 15th 2013
by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Randi's father, who writes detective novels, decides to move from New York City to the mountains of Tennessee after the death of Randi's mother from cancer. Randi loves to investigate small crimes in her urban neighborhood, so is not happy about the move, or about the fact that her father isn't writing. When they get to the small town of Deer Creek, they find it is celebrating it's 200th birthday by uncovering a time capsule that the founders buried, and it is to be opened by none other than the president of the United States. When the ceremony occurs, old man McCarthy lets a skunk loose, and the capsule is stolen. Randi sets out to investigate, making friends with DC, whose mother owns a struggling apple orchard and who shares Randi's love of martial arts. The two find that there are bigger mysteries around, such as why Amber-Grace Sutton's father, the bank manager, is trying to bankrupt DC's mom. They try out their detective skills searching for a lost cat, and find out that a resort is being built... on the site of the apple orchard. Pudge Taylor, whose father has moved the family down from Boston, is in on the planning, but Pudge helps the fledgling detective try to figure out who is behind the various mysteries.
Strengths: This was a solid middle grade mystery, and had a nice multicultural cast of characters. The cover immediately drew me, with TWO characters of color on it. This ended in a way that makes me think there could be a sequel. The appendices at the back on how to perform "ninja tasks" were vaguely amusing as well.
Weaknesses: I somehow thought this would be more of a fantastical, super hero or time travel novel. Since I need more mysteries than either of those, I wasn't disappointed. This would benefit from tighter editing, though-- the print was small and it rambled at times.
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts
and Unleashing Readers.