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About to be shipped off to San Diego while her widower dad goes on his honeymoon, seventh-grader Sherry (short for Sherlock) Holmes Baldwin prepares to put up a fight when she is contacted by her mother's ghost. Killed in the line of duty, her cop mother is flunking out of an afterlife law-enforcement academy, and she needs Sherry's help to crack a case at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. So what if Sherry, a self-proclaimed screwup, is nothing like Nancy Drew? ("Do I look like a strawberry-blond-haired teenage detective?" wisecracking Sherry demands.) Summy keeps the fizz in her effervescent premise for most of this debut novel, using a punchy first-person narration; story lines involving romances, movie stars, rhinos and egotistical chefs; and various eccentricities, including a late grandfather who assumes the form of a wren. Although the plot becomes too convoluted even for screwball comedy, Sherry remains entertaining, and readers will hope for a second caper. Ages 10-up. (Dec.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.