Monday, March 14, 2011

The Midnight Tunnel by Angie Frazier

I hope Elizabeth enjoys Angie Frazier's The Midnight Tunnel as much as I did. My sisters and I are all mystery fans. I sent a copy of this to my niece, Elizabeth, since she challenged me to read again this year. Maybe I'll make a mystery reader out of her as well. This first Suzanna Snow book, designed for readers eight to twelve, introduces one of the most intelligent young detectives I've read about in quite a while.

Eleven-year-old Suzanna (Zanna) Snow is the daughter of the managers of a resort hotel in New Brunswick, Canada. In 1904, the Rosemount Hotel is a summer destination for the wealthy, and Suzanna's parents hope she'll join them in management eventually. To that end, her mother is attempting to transform her into a lady, providing her with a list of social taboos, each describing what a proper lady would never do. Suzanna's mother might as well give up. Zanna has her own list, notebooks filled with overheard conversations, detective rules and quotes. Zanna aspires to be a detective, just like her father's brother, Uncle Bruce, a famous detective in Boston.
When the lights in the hotel go out in the middle of a storm one night, and a little girl goes missing, Zanna just might have her chance. She saw something in the servants' tunnel during the storm, and she's convinced she saw someone taking the child. But, only her friend, Isaac, the boy who works on the lobster boat, believes her. When her Uncle Bruce is hired to find Maddie, Zanna knows he'll accept her help. Instead, she finds her clues belittled. And, that revered uncle doesn't seem to be as wonderful as she dreamed. He even brought a nephew with him. Will James is supposed to be apprenticing as a detective, which makes Zanna jealous.  However, Will and Isaac seem to be the only two people willing to listen to Zanna, who is determined to find the missing Maddie.

Frazier's juvenile mystery, with its appealing heroine, interesting setting and time period, is a fascinating story. And, any of us who grew up with Nancy Drew or Harriet the Spy will welcome this new addition to the genre. The humor in this story comes from Suzanna's failure as an assistant in the kitchen. She just isn't cut out for the hotel business, but, hopefully, The Midnight Tunnel will launch her successful detecting career.

Angie Frazier's website is

The Midnight Tunnel by Angie Frazier. Scholastic, Inc., ©2011. ISBN 9780545208628 (hardcover), 288p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, in hopes I would review it.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I'll be getting this book for sure, Lesa! Thanks for the review. I have been unable to get Nancy D. to "take" with my daughter...much to my dismay! She thinks Nancy and her roadster are just a little outdated and says Nancy seems like a grownup to her. (It all makes me sad!) We'll give "Midnight Tunnel" a go. I'd love her to love mysteries, but I know there are different genres for different types of kids.

Lesa said...

And, Elizabeth? Even though this mystery is set in 1904, Suzanna isn't a grownup, and the mystery doesn't seem dated. Good luck! As you said, though, there are different genres for different types of kids. And, it's possible she might even rediscover mysteries later.

Kris said...

It sounds like a really good series. It's great to see another good mystery series for young readers, I grew up with Nancy Drew. That's what got me on the mystery bandwagon.

Lesa said...

Nancy Drew got so many people on the mystery bandwagon. For me, it was Nancy Drew & The Happy Hollisters. I really liked this first book, Kris.