The Case of the Curious Scouts

Viking. (Secret Spy Society: Bk. 2). Mar. 2022. 96p. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9780593204382.
Gr 2-5–Mang’s second foray into the world of the Secret Spy Society is a bustling caper with delightfully neon illustrations. Like many young literary detectives, the spunky junior members of the Secret Spy Society have lots on their plates—spy chores, club meetings, the care of an energetic pet cheetah. As the story begins, a new case has sauntered up to their doorstep. The best designs of the fabulous Fashion Twins have been purloined, and the evidence leads our heroines to a veritable workhouse full of uniformed, unhappy Scouts. But why have these kids stolen the styles? Though the solution is no great shock, the delight of the story lies in the process of unraveling the mystery, filled with silly jokes and grandiose prose. Unfortunately, the backstory of the Society is largely absent from this second entry, and the identity of their Lady Spy mentors is awkwardly integrated into the plot, requiring a tone-breaking footnote at the end of the book. Being mentored by female spies from history is an excellent premise, and it feels like a missed opportunity to not bring it fully into the story’s spotlight. Private Eyes Peggy and Dot are illustrated as white, Rita is illustrated as Black, and the Lady Spies and other characters come from a diversity of racial and national backgrounds.
VERDICT A light mystery with a fun and funny tone, bright illustrations, and a somewhat fuzzy backstory, this series sequel is a sweet snack for young mystery lovers.

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