Fairstein, Linda. Into the Lion's Den (The Devlin Quick Mysteries)
November 15th 2016 by Dial Book
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Dev, whose mother is the police commissioner in New York City, has never known her father, a journalist killed before she was born. She is lucky to have a supportive if quirky grandmother, and her mother has surrounded her with friends. These include an older sister figure, Natasha, who was coerced into coming to the US from Moldava and was saved from men who were brought to justice by Dev's mother; father figure Sam, a fellow policeman; brother figure Booker Dibler, who is African American; and exchange student Liza, who is from South America. When Dev and Liza are in the public library, they see a man steal a page from a valuable map book. Despite their evidence, which includes a fuzzy picture on a phone, Dev's mother is reluctant to devote police resources to their quest, so the girls investigate on their own. This is fairly easy, since they can run around the city by themselves, and Dev's grandmother puts her considerable influence behind them. No one even believes that the map was stolen, but the trio of preteens manages to pull together clues from the Internet and guest lists of lectures, and run the perpetrator to ground, solving map thefts all up and down the East coast. They are honored by the mayor with a key to the city.
Strengths: There's an attempt to be multicultural, the scene where the bad guy catches Dev and Liza was decent, and this could be a good choice for readers who enjoy Blue Balliet or other clue oriented mysteries about art thefts.
Weaknesses: This read like a book from the 1960s-- the dialogue was very stilted and somehow overly sentimental. Dev is precocious and precious-- she rhapsodizes about her literary friends Pippi Longstocking, the Artful Dodger and Hercule Poirot. Dev and her friends are all fairly privileged, and the multicultural aspect seems forced.
What I really think: I don't know that I will purchase this one, mainly because my students who want mysteries want kidnapping or murder stories, not ones about stolen maps. Fairstein is apparently the author of some adult titles-- sometimes people can make the leap (think Rick Riordan!), and sometimes it is less than successful.