Review – Agent Zaiba Investigates: The Missing Diamonds by Annabelle Sami
Series: Agent Zaiba Investigates, #1
- Title: Agent Zaiba Investigates: The Missing Diamonds
- Series: Agent Zaiba Investigates, #1
- Author: Annabelle Sami
- Genre: Children, Mystery
- Source: NetGalley
- Publication Date: 06/02/2020
- Publisher: Little Tiger Group, Stripes Publishing
- Format: Kindle
This charming story follows Zaiba who is a keen private detective, due to family history and her obsession with the book series Eden Lockett Mysteries. Her friend Poppy is almost as passionate and brother Ali prefers not to miss out on an investigation.
AGENT ZAIBA INVESTIGATES is a fun, contemporary new series for fans of The Sinclair’s Mysteries and the Murder Most Unladylike books.
Eleven-year-old Zaiba is obsessed with crime. Her Aunt Fouzia runs a detective agency back in Karachi and has turned Zaiba on to the brilliant Eden Lockett Mysteries. She has every book in the series – and the quilt cover, and the phone case. All she needs now is a crime to solve… Goodreads
In book one, Zaiba is attending a family Mehndi party at The Grand Royal Star Hotel when she hears that the prized Italian Greyhound of a famous actress has gone missing from the star’s suite. With the help of her best friend and her little brother, the amateur sleuth manages to foil the petnapping plot and save the day.
What’s good about it
Zaiba, is a plucky protagonist, who is always observing what’s going on around her, noting down clues and making deductions, this character trait doesn’t stop whilst she enjoying an extended family party in a country hotel. Celebrating at the Mehndi (a pre-wedding party) turns out to be a perfect opportunity to study the comings and goings of family, staff, and guests and see a mystery as it starts to happen. Zaiba notices something untoward and so begins the search for the missing dog of a minor celebrity.
What I liked most after the characters was that the plot was actually interesting as well as realistic. The adventure occurred in an evening and all the characters were true to life. This is a family party the expectation is there would be some leeway for the trio to disappear. But they weren’t mysteriously gone for hours getting up to all sorts without being missed or observed by an adult.
What’s great about it
The Missing Diamonds was an engaging mystery, which avoided being one dimensional with great writing, and an appreciation (but not blinkered focus) on the target audience. Pitched at the right level and not too many dangerous situations. Moreover, it highlighted the contribution of all the children in solving the whodunnit. It was clear to see the children’s different abilities were pivotal in bringing the story to a satisfactory conclusion.
It shouldn’t have to be said, but I’ll say it anyway; it was fantastic to see a person of colour as a lead in the book, in a position of authority and being listened to. No tired stereotypes here, they were real meaningful personalities, not know it all obnoxious children and the insight into Pakistani life and customs added depth to the tale.
The illustrations even on my kindle version reflected the text in making it evident that there were different cultures and races represented in the story. The characters looked appreciably different. The artwork was frequent throughout and always seemed to show a must-see moment – perfectly timed with fab facial expressions too.
I would highly recommend it to middle-grade children who may or may not be interested in private investigating or mysteries. Either way, they will enjoy the well-written story, daring exploits, and funny situations. Plus, the bonus material at the end (quiz, info, etc.), kept me reading on long after the book itself had finished.
My thanks to NetGalley, Little Tiger Group and Stripes Publishing for an advance copy of this book in exchange for a candid review
4 Stars – Really Liked