Ever hear of Hercule Poirot? Jessica Fletcher? Colombo? They're nothing compared to thirteen-year-old detective Sammy Keyes. The latest from this gifted detective begins with the discovery of a dead cat in a dumpster. While others may ignore this, Sammy knows that something sinister is going on. When the Kitty Queen, a lady who lives with dozens of cats and likes to be called Ms. Kitty, accuses her of being the culprit, Sammy can't stay out of it. Add to that the wrestling school next door filled with shady characters, her arch enemy Heather trying to steal her good luck charm (given to her by Heather's brother) and her mother's admission that she really isn't turning fourteen, and you have the making of a very bad birthday. Don't worry, though. Just like her adult predecessors, Sammy finds the clues and solves the case in the end. If you haven't met Sammy Keyes yet, now is the time. She is intelligent and vivacious, but is still realistic. She is a strong female character who is looking for more than just a boyfriend. A highly recommended read. 2004, Knopf, Ages 10 to 14.
Children's Literature - Nancy Partridge
America's most amazing young super sleuth is at it again, in this ninth book of the "Sammy Keyes" mystery series. It is Sammy's birthday, and all kinds of crazy things are going on. Her cat disappears and, much worse, she starts finding dead cats in random dumpsters. Could there seriously be a neighborhood cat killer? Dealing with such things is all in a day's work for Sammy, but still, it's pretty gross. Not only that, her mom comes back from Hollywood, only to mess with her head with some pretty upsetting news. Van Draanen weaves a seamless plot full of suspense and adventure, as she also reveals Sammy's inner struggles to believe in herself. Her worldliness gives her a tough and compelling edge, while a relentless honesty is funny and refreshing. It is no wonder this series is so popular.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6 - Sammy is back and ready to solve yet another mystery, this time involving disappearing cats, in Wendelin Van Draanen's ninth mystery (Knopf, 2004) in this popular series. With the help of her friend Holly, a few moves learned at the new wrestling school, a lucky charm, and her curious and determined nature, Sammy uncovers the warped reason behind the missing cats. Interspersed throughout the story are some personal issues that Sammy must face including Heather, her nemesis, a budding romance with Heather's brother, a visit from her mother, and being told that the date of her birthday is not quite what she thought it was. Tara Sands's voice is as spunky as Sammy herself. With pacing, tone, and volume consistent with the mood of each part of the story and the personalities of the characters, Sands creates a well-balanced listening experience with characters that are both fun and intriguing. While some of the details in the missing cat mystery are a bit disturbing, fans of the series will not be disappointed.-Stephanie A. Squicciarini, Fairport Public Library, NYCopyright 2007 Reed Business Information