Surrisi, C.M. The Maypop Kidnapping
March 1st 2016 by Carolrhoda Books
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Quinnie lives on a small town in Maine, and she is tutored by Ms. Stillford. Sadly, her best friend and fellow tutee, Zoe, has moved away. When Ms. Stillford doesn't show up to meet with Quinnie at the town diner (run by Quinnie's dad), Quinnie goes to her house and finds enough things out of place that she is alarmed. Later, there is a letter from Ms. Stillford sent to the twon sheriff, Quinnie's mom, but Quinnie is still suspicious. WIth the help of the new girl in town, Mariella, whose father is a famous crime writer, Quinnie investigates the disappearance of her teacher and uncovers an interesting bits of the town's history and unusual intrigue centered around the town's small community of nuns.
Middle grade mysteries walk a fine line-- readers want gory murder mysteries, and adults want to hand them gentler books about missing dogs, ala Encyclopedia Brown. The Maypop Kidnapping struck a nice balance, with a beloved teacher going missing, the adults not believing she was in danger, and the children being right that more investigation was needed. I appreciated that the teacher wasn't in grave danger, but that Quinnie and Mariella were able to solve a mystery that did have some criminal implications.
The sense of place was very strong. Having been to Maine, it was interesting to see a depiction of a small town with very few inhabitants, and some of the scenes were set along the coast. Young readers not from the area will find this interesting. The inclusion of Mariella, who was from New York City, reinforced some of these details, since she was suprised by some facets of life in a small town.
Readers who liked Thompson's The Girl from Felony Bay, Beil's The Red Blazer Girls, or Margolis' Girl's Best Friend will enjoy this mystery that will keep them on the edge of their seat, but still allow them to sleep comfortably at night!