Genre: Children, Mystery
Ages: 5 to 9 years (Level 3 of young reader books from Duckbill)
Buy From amazon India
Price: Rs 132 on amazon. M. R. P. is Rs 175 as printed on book
Mira The Detective by Pavithra Sankaran, is a collection of 3 short stories, featuring an eight year old girl named Mira, who solves little mysteries that crop up in her neighborhood. She is assisted by her best friend Sunil, the son of the society watchman, the strong and benevolent Nambi uncle.
In the first story, we learn that Mira's mother owns and antique and jewels shop. There are many valuable items there, but only one that is priceless. It is a jeweled watch that had been given to Mira's grandfather by some important person. The watch seems almost magical, because it runs without batteries and never needs to be wound up.
One night there is a robbery at Mira's mother's store. The only item stolen is the watch. Why would a thief overlook so many valuable items and only steal the watch? The police are puzzled. Bubbling with curiosity, Maya asks a myriad of questions, but her mother hasn't got the answers. Over th next couple of days Maya notices some oddities. Can she fit them together to solve the mystery?
Mira hates drinking milk and usually, surreptitiously, gets rid of it, by pouring it in to the pot of a houseplant. But one day, when her mother is out of town, and her aunt Sheila is looking after her, her milk looks different. It is pink and frothy. Mira is intrigued, and she cautiously tastes a little. She is surprised how tasty the milk is and glugs it down and wants more. Her aunt aware of her distaste for milk is confused.
Mira says that she has never had this pink milk before and it is simply delicious. Sheila explains, that she added a flavoring agent, a new product she saw at the store, called Mayamix. The product is advertised at the school and all the kids love it. They can't have enough of it. Then a few days later the news announces a break in at the local Mayamix factory, where the entire supply of Mayamix had been destroyed. Mira and her friends are distraught at the news.
Desperate for more Mayamix, Mira hopes that her friend Sunil will have some answers, because his uncle is a watchman at the factory. Will Mira and Sunil be able to solve the mystery and have the Mayamix supply restored?
Everybody loves Anita Aunty and the payasam she generously distributes through the neighborhood. Every time the children smell the payasam, they wait eagerly for Anita Aunty to give them some, and she never disappoints. But she is very secretive about her recipe and won't share the recipe itself with anyone.
One day the kids smell the delicious aromas of the payassam wafting through the neighborhood, but when no payassam arrives they are confused and go to visit her. When they reach her home, they find the front door unlocked, but they don't see any payassam and Anita Aunty isn't there either. The whole things seems very suspicious. Is Anita Aunty in trouble? And where is the smell of her signature payasam coming from anyway? Can Mira and Sunil solve the mystery?
The book has three short stories, each about twenty pages long, printed in fairly large font. It is prefect for introducing a five or six year old child to the excitement and thrills of the mystery genre.
The stories deal with crimes like theft, corruption and kidnapping, and yet writing is so lucid, it is easily accessible to a six year old.
The plots are well constructed. They are suspenseful but not too complicated. Mira with her powers of observation, and deduction, not too unbelievable of an 8 year old, coupled with curiosity and a thirst for adventure is able to solve these simple mysteries with the help of her best friend Sunil.
The illustrations by Vandana Singh are expressive and adorable.
Kids can identify with Mira for her shenanigans like feeding her milk to the houseplant to escape having to drink it.
Curiosity cracks the case
Duckbill sent me this book for an honest review.
Thanks PlusMinus’N’More, for everything I learned from you about reviewing books.