The Cat’s Paw

Yellow Jacket. (Gemini Mysteries: Bk. 2). Jan. 2021. 304p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781499808100.
Gr 4-6–The second installment in the “Gemini Mysteries” series is another teen-driven whodunit. The group of kids who make up the Gemini Detective Agency—Zach, Evie, Vishal, and Sophie—realize a beloved red panda has gone missing from the local zoo. When a bobcat who roams the area is blamed and in danger of being euthanized, the sleuths decide to prove the bobcat is innocent and to find the culprit. They jump from suspect to suspect, all while the adults around them react as though it is normal for teenagers to do detective work in place of the local police. While they are searching frantically, they accuse some mildly annoyed suspects and encounter some benign bad guys. The teen banter is quirky and amusing and keeps the reader interested when the plot development is lacking. Each chapter ends with an illustration of the clue just revealed. Readers who enjoy Stuart Gibbs’s “Fun Jungle” series or Carl Hiaasen’s novels might enjoy the environmental and animal rights aspects of this mystery.
VERDICT Despite some plot momentum flaws, this is a good choice to bolster middle grade mystery collections.

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