Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Certain Death by Tanya Landman

May 2010, Walker
128 pages, Paperback
Review copy

Children's, 10+

Cushions: 3
Daggers: 2
Smiles: 5
Tissues: 1
Nayuleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥

Summary from Walker.

When the circus comes to town, Poppy Fields and best friend Graham soon discover that the "certain death" promised on the posters is no jokeWith one person dead and the circus performers still in grave danger, the pair will have to work fast to discover who's firing the shots...

The clown on the front cover didn't attract me to the book, but the humour which runs through this series about Poppy and Graham, plus the premise did pull me in. In most towns, a circus provides lots of laughter and entertainment. For Poppy and Graham, it provides danger and more mystery. Although murders are a serious matter, I think in some ways Poppy and Graham enjoy investigating things. It really gets their minds going, trying to figure out how to side-step their parents, how to keep one step head of the murderer...which is the negative side of it all.

My opinion of clowns didn't improve by Poppy's experience with them. Yet the clowns are tied up in the mystery on who the culprit is. What I like is that right until the end of the book, I don't have a clue who the murderer is. Once the murderer is revealed, then it all makes sense. The odd red herring is usually laid, so I just sit back and let Poppy solve the murder.

I'm a bit surprised Poppy's mother doesn't send her off to boarding school - she certainly doesn't like her daughter being involved in yet another murder case. She tries to keep her safe, but she can't watch her all the time. Maybe that's why Poppy stays at home - boarding school would prove too much temptation for her to chase down other mysteries.

I felt that in this book of the series, the plot was strong and the characters were good, but it didn't seem as funny as previous stories. It was funny in places, and I'm sure future books will be funny. But this didn't have the edge to give it five hearts.

Make sure you've checked Poppy in her other adventures, including The Scent of Blood.

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