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Gillian Engberg*Starred Review* Gr. 7-10.
The first titles in the new Missing Persons mystery series introduce teen orphans Samantha and Sophie Shattenberg, sisters who flee their Queens, New York, home after their father's death to escape their stepmother, who intends to abscond with the family money and ship Sophie off to boarding school. A few felonies later (fake documentation; funds illegally transferred from their father's account), the girls settle into a new life, and new identities, in tiny Venice, Indiana. In the Rose Queen, the girls become prime suspects in the disappearance of an obnoxious local beauty queen, and crack the case to clear their names. That success turns into jobs with the local P. I., and in Chocolate Lover, they connect art stolen during the Holocaust with its missing owner, while exploring their own family tree. Although Rabb indulges in a few small-town stereotypes, she creates breezy, compelling mysteries that can read as stand-alone titles. More interesting, though are the deeper identity struggles of the likable sisters who cherish their New York Jewish roots even as they try to live (and fall in love) while masquerading as young Midwestern gentiles.