Sisterhood of Sleuths

Sisterhood of Sleuths
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
9+
Release Date
October 04, 2022
ISBN
978-0316331074
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A clever and thought-provoking mystery that pays homage to classic Nancy Drew stories, perfect for fans of Wendy Mass and Trenton Lee Stewart.

Maizy always assumed she knew everything about her grandmother, Jacuzzi. So when a box full of vintage Nancy Drew books gets left at her mom’s thrift store, Maizy is surprised to find an old photo of her grandmother and two other women tucked beneath the collection. Stranger still, when Maizy shows the photo to Jacuzzi she feigns ignorance, insisting the woman is someone else. Determined to learn the truth — and inspired by the legacy of Nancy Drew — Maizy launches her own investigation with the help of new friends, Nell and Cam. What they discover not only points to the origins of the iconic series, but uncovers a truth from the past that will lead to self-discovery in the present, connecting three generations of women.  

This intergenerational mystery filled with literary history, friendship, and family secrets delivers a captivating tribute to the world’s most famous girl detective. 

Editor review

1 review
The Mystery of the Box of Nancy Drew Books!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Maizy is in the middle of a school project with her best friend, Izzy. They are making a film called Shellfish Holmes, and hope to have it chosen to be screened at the town art film theater if it's good enough. They even manage to get a giant lobster costume from her mother's costume and vintage clothing store, Alter Ego. When Maizy has an accident in the costume while biking to the park to film with Izzy, her niggling feeling that everything is not okay with her friendship is confirmed. Izzy, who insists on being called Isabelle, is more concerned with working with a couple of boys in class, even though they are not being true to Maizy's artistic vision. About this time, a box of Nancy Drew mysteries is dropped off at the store, and there's a thirty year old picture of Maizy's grandmother, whom she calls Jacuzzi, with two other women. Her grandmother didn't drop off the box, but the mystery of who did draws in neighbor and former friend Nell. Nell loves fashion, and was planning on doing a retrospective of women's clothing in the twentieth century, which their teacher thinks is a bit ambitious for a ten minute presentation. Maizy is thrown in to working with Nell, as well as Cam. The three start to look into the mystery of Maizy's grandmother, but also the history of the Nancy Drew series and its main author, Mildred Wirt Benson. Jacuzzi is not forthcoming with information about the picture, and denies knowing anyone named "Annette" after one of the books is found to have an inscription to that name from "Susie", which is Jacuzzi's real name. With the help of a librarian who isn't a fan of the books, a suspicious college student named Kelsey, and a professor, the girls get a lot of information. Will it be enough to solve the mystery of the box of books and to provide enough interesting facts for a good school project?
Good Points
This was a fun and brilliantly conceived mystery which seamlessly incorporated the mythos of Nancy Drew in all of her complexity! It's not essential to know this fictional detective in order to enjoy this book, and I'm hoping to get fans of this author's Book Scavenger series to pick up Sisterhood of Sleuths and THEN guide them gently to the Nancy Drew Diaries. Having read Rubini's Missing Millie Benson: The Secret Case of the Nancy Drew Ghostwriter and Journalist, I knew a lot of the backstory on Benson and Drew, but also learned a lot. I had no idea that the series had been revamped in the late 1950s, partially to remove racist content. Sadly, while this made the books less horribly racist, those overtones persisted. Fascinating!

Aside from the inherent appeal of the Nancy Drew link, there's a lot of good, solid, middle grade angst going on. Izzy is terrible in the way that friends who are going through hard times are often terrible; it's not that she wants to be mean to Maizy, but Maizy is there. Maizy is also dealing with missing her older brother, who has just gone off to college, and she is worried that her grandmother (who first shows up in the story in an orthopedic book; I feel for you, Jacuzzi!) is getting older and perhaps forgetful. Maizy's parents are supportive, although busy. I wish more middle grade books would include major school projects, because they often loom large in middle school lives.

I loved Alter Ego and a shopping trip there would be fascinating. The town is small enough that the characters are able to bike around and show some autonomy, which I always enjoy.

Readers who gobbled up Souders' Coop Knows the Scoop, Johnson's The Parker Inheritance, Bowen's The Soccer Trophy Mystery, and other stories that highlight strange and interesting happenings in the past that must be explored will enjoy this fast paced and funny look at a girl who is just trying to figure out a box of books... and her life!
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