Friday 17 January 2020

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book of the Week - Week Ending 17th January 2019: "The Cure for a Crime (A Double Detectives Medical Mystery)" by Roopa Farooki (OUP / Oxford Children's Books)

It's fair to say that we have a very tough choice on our hands when it comes to middle grade fiction, separating out the also-rans from the truly stunning books that we know are going to be a huge hit with C.

When it comes to detective fiction our work is doubly difficult - it feels like there are SO MANY wannabe detectives running around in middle grade, all solving crimes, righting wrongs, and generally doing so in a fairly similar (some might even say tedious) way.

SO it's good to report that "The Cure for a Crime" by Roopa Farooki punts all those notions of 'sameyness' into the reeds, setting up a fantastic first book in what we truly hope becomes a hugely successful series, featuring twins Ali and Tulip.

Their mum is a successful surgeon, and both the twins have picked up loads of her knowledge of first aid, medicine and anatomy, becoming familiar with the hospital environment and the daily struggles and triumphs around making people better and saving lives.

But something's amiss. Their normally sharp-eyed sharp-witted mum seems to be suffering from a mysterious illness that is making her sleepy and forgetful. Mum's new boyfriend is instantly placed under suspicion, and it's up to the twins and their awesome Gran to get to the bottom of this tricky case, using all the medical knowledge and skills at their disposal (plus a good dose of wisdom from Gran too!)

Roopa's storytelling is slick, fast paced and completely engrossing (C read this through twice and was totally hooked on it, which in itself is unusual given the number of books she has on her review stack at any given time). Praise in itself for a superb novel that bucks the trend for 'boring' middle grade detective fiction, giving it a vital life-saving shot in the arm (and dang, you could almost put that on the back of the book, right?)

Sum this book up in a sentence: A truly brilliant slice of awesomeness, a detective tale that feels instantly engaging and original, with a brilliant pair of characters and a compelling first case which we hope becomes a huge series for Roopa.

"The Cure for a Crime" by Roopa Farooki is out now, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books (kindly supplied for review).