Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Review: Mayne Island Skeletons by Amber Harvey
Mayne Island Skeletons is the third book in the thrilling Magda Mystery Series by Amber Harvey about Magda, the pre-teen sleuth, and her pal Brent. The whole family will enjoy this exciting adventure. With sightings of ghosts, criminals, runaways, and unsolved murders from the distant past, it will have readers of all ages at the edge of their seats. This is also a story about the importance of friendship. Magda, the young heroine, stands by her friend, while others believe he's guilty. In the end, her kindness, loyalty and courage pay off.
The story is set on Mayne Island; quiet and rural. Magda, a courageous and adventurous girl, has a summer job at a local farm, but in her spare time, is an eager detective. One of her closest friends is Brent, whose mother can no longer care for him. Together, the two friends discover a derelict house that they speculate is haunted by the ghosts of a family murdered long ago.
At first, Magda, Brent and their friends have fun teasing their younger neighbors with stories of ghosts in the haunted house. However, their fun and games come to a sudden stop when Brent is suspected of stealing valuable First Nations artefacts and is at risk of going into foster care, or worse still, sent to the juvenile detention center. The police want to question him, but he disappears. Magda now has two mysteries to solve: the ancient mystery of the haunted house, and the very topical issue of how to prove Brent's innocence and stop him from being sent off the island.
Magda works for a farmer, Polly Prudholme, a taciturn woman who has never encouraged or praised Magda. Her neighbour, Hortense Warwick, is an interfering, bad-natured woman who knows about skeletons - the kind in people's closets. Shauna, Magda’s best friend, has a Great-Aunt that Magda believe can help in their research. She travels to Victoria to meet her. These and other characters people Magda's world.
During her investigation to find the real thieves, Magda overhears a conversation that leads to the conclusion of the case. She discovers the criminals responsible for the theft of art treasures and brings them to justice. Brent's suffering has ended. He finds a permanent, safe and happy home on the island. And with the help of Sport, a neighbor's friendly dog, Magda finally solves the mystery of the haunted house.
Mayne Island Skeletons is a readable story that will appeal to pre-teens and their families. Harvey's writing is clear and engaging, with sympathetic, believable characters, and
evocative settings. Magda is a very memorable heroine that children can relate to. Magda struggles, as we all do sometimes, between obeying the rules and following her curiosity. In the end her instincts prove right.
I don't normally review children's books however Mayne Island is very close to where I live so I knew I would find the book very interesting. The story brings me back to my childhood when I loved reading the Enid Blyton mysteries and the wonderful adventures the children in her stories had.
Harvey's adventure starring Magda her preteen sleuth is a great book for children to read. I love the location, Mayne Island, and I love the writing style of the author. The children in the book are active, they are not glued to electronics. They are inquisitive and mostly they show great character traits as they show the value of friendship.
Highly recommend this great read for preteens!