Scoop McLaren: Waves of Mystery

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Helen Castles, Waves of Mystery (Scoop McLaren #2), New Frontier Publishing, October 2020, 170 pp., RRP $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781922326010

Waves of Mystery is the second in the Scoop McLaren series. Detective Editor Scoop, along with her Roving Report Evie, run Click, a local online newspaper that has grown pretty popular as a result of the events in book 1. That said, Waves of Mystery is an exciting, funny self-contained mystery, so readers can dive straight into this one if they so desire.

Helen Castles takes readers right into the action, so to speak, as Scoop and Evie are reporting on a surf competition. Scoop’s childhood friend, Fletcher, is competing. Fletcher is generally recognised as one of the best surfers in the competition right now, and he has high hopes for his future. However, it seems not everyone is as pleased with Fletcher’s talent and skill because Scoop begins to suspect someone might be sabotaging his training.

Scoop is such a treat to read about! She is determined, strong-willed and fiercely intelligent. She takes nothing for granted, and questions everything. Naturally, it gets her into some trouble in the book, but a Detective Editor has to follow her leads! I was also pleased to see in this book that the adults around her respect that intelligence.

Another part of Scoop’s character is her loyalty and friendship with Fletcher and more with Evie. As Click’s Roving Reporter, Evie is in the thick of things with Scoop, and together this dynamic duo solved who was behind sabotaging Fletcher. Evie is also intelligent, and brave and she and Scoop play off one another wonderfully.

Castles did throw in a bit of curveball in the book, with an unexpected mystery in which Scoop shows off her attention to detail and reporter’s instincts – both of which ultimately save the day.

Another part of Castles’ writing that I enjoyed are the little breadcrumbs she throws into her narrative that come together so wonderfully at different points in the book. These foreshadowings make for a more complex story in the end and lay the groundwork for the next book in the series. I think young readers are capable of more understanding than some authors and books give them credit for sometimes, and I was pleased to see that Castles recognises this.

There’s so much to love in this book, but most especially, I can’t wait for young readers to discover the joys of following Scoop and her Evie on this mystery!

Teaching notes are available here.

 Reviewed by Versukha Byrow



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