The Legend of the Lost Jewels (A Hazel Frump Adventure).
The Legend of the Lost Jewels (A Hazel Frump Adventure) written by Jennifer Lanthier HarperCollins Canada, 2008 978-000639-161-6 (pb) $14.99 for Grades 4 to 8 Junior Fiction--Mystery
In her second stand-alone mystery featuring heroine Hazel Frump, author Jennifer Lanthier has created an enthralling and suspenseful story reminiscent of fellow Canadian Eric Wilson's Tom and Liz Austen mysteries for younger readers.
A bad storm closes Hazel's and her brother's schools, stranding them at their cousins' castle Land's End. To keep them busy, their father devises a treasure hunt, sending them hunting for a set of legendary lost jewels. But what begins as harmless fun quickly turns dangerous as dark images from their family's past come back to haunt them.
Hazel is a feisty, likeable and completely realistic heroine. She is not a trouble maker, but trouble tends to find her, and readers will enjoy her adventurous spirit. Hazel's brother Ned is also a well-developed character, and his more cautious and thoughtful nature makes a good counterpart to Hazel's sometimes eager impulsiveness. The cast of minor characters who pop in and out of the story are also quirky and fun, and while the mystery quite firmly stays in the hands of Hazel and Ned, they help to keep the story moving and to avoid becoming too narrowly focused.
The mystery is solid and the clues are fun to follow along with without being too easy or overly challenging. Lanthier also does an excellent job of creating several twists and turns along the way, adding a spooky subplot to the story and keeping readers guessing right until the end.
Though the length and format of the novel might be a bit daunting for some younger readers, the story is completely clean, and not so scary that readers will find it too frightening. Whether it is read alone or read aloud, mystery fans will look forward to another adventure in this refreshing new series.
Rachel Steen is the Selection Manager at S&B Books.