Thursday, April 8, 2010

This month’s book: Missing Persons book one: The Rose Queen by M.E. Rabb

rose queen This is the first volume in a really fun and well-written mystery series: Missing Persons.  Sophia and Samantha Shattenberg have to make new lives for themselves after their father’s death if they want to avoid having to live under the rule of their evil stepmother Enid, a tall, wiry woman who, Sophia said, “Called us ‘the young ladies’ in the same tone she used for ‘the rodents in the subway.’”  Sophia and Sam’s mother disappeared years before, last traced to Indianapolis, so is it just coincidence that the girls head there to make their new start?  They are aided by Sam’s best friend Felix, who hooks them up with a not-very-scary minor criminal (he has a huge orange tabby cat named Cubby, pictures of Cubby and copies of Cat Fancy magazine in his office, and his nana sends him homemade ravioli) who helps them establish their new identities with fake birth certificates, social security cards, and a driver’s license for Sam.  Their new (old) car breaks down in Venice –”the Europe of the Midwest, see our beautiful canal” –and they decide they might like small town life.  Unfortunately for them, things are not as quiet in Venice as they thought they would be.  Noelle, local mean girl soon to be Queen of the Rose Parade, hates Sophia on sight (“As Rose Queen, I’m going to do my best to help Venice’s underprivileged residents. The dwarves, the pasty, the orphans.”), and when she’s murdered after last being seen getting out of Sam and Sophia’s car, Sophia becomes the prime suspect.  Of course they decide they’d better solve the murder themselves, before someone discovers their true identities (they did steal $300,000 that was supposed to be inherited by the evil Enid).  Review by Stacy Church