Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Book Review: The Disappearing Jewel of Madagascar by Sigmund Brouwer (Accidental Detectives #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun and mysterious story for all
Cons: Some edits from the 90's edition
The Bottom Line:
Don't touch the jewels
Or who knows what will happen
Let's just ask Ricky

Beware the Cursed Jewels

The Accidental Detectives Series may be for kids, but I absolutely love them. They've got great characters, intriguing plots, and good morals that are slipped in without preaching. And The Disappearing Jewel of Madagascar is a perfect example.

Ricky Kidd doesn't believe in curses. But he begins to doubt after he touches the Jewel of Madagascar, the prize in neighbor Mrs. McEwan's jewelry collection. According to legend, the jewel no only curses you with bad luck, but "Friends become strangers and strangers become friends." Almost as soon as he touches the jewel, he accidentally crushes part of the collection and must find a way to repay the debt. Worse, his friends are growing distant. They still talk to him, but if Ricky walks up to them, they usually stop talking.

In order to pay off his debt, he starts working for Mrs. McEwan. That brings him into contact with Mrs. McEwan's nephew. Ricky's sure he's not all he claims to be, but no one seems to believe him or even care. Is Ricky right? If so, can Ricky prove it before it's too late? And what are his friends up to?

This book was originally published in the 1990's. It was edited and republished in 2002. And yes, I bought them both. When I got this version, I did a side by side comparison of the two editions. The biggest chance to the series is Ricky's new baby sister. Frankly, I don't see why Rachel was added to the series since she never once plays a part in any of the books. But I digress. There are also small changes to upgrade technology, most noticeably computers. There was one change that bothered me. A few funny character scenes were cut. They don't advance the story, although one of them is referenced later. Outside of that poor edit, you would never know you were missing anything, so this is a minor point to today's readers.

If you had never read the original version, you'd still love this one. The story is tight if a little obvious. I knew where it was going the first time around. But even rereading it, I got so caught up in the story I couldn't bear to put it down. Obviously, the theme here is about superstition, but it is so skillfully woven in it never once slows down the story.

The characters are wonderful as well. Even with the edits, there are still plenty of humorous moments that had me laughing out loud. They come across as real people and are lots of fun to spend time visiting. The adults are just as real as the kids; in fact, I think they are more real then in many kid's novels.

The book is just over 120 pages. There are lots of chapter breaks, so it feels like you are getting through it fast. And the book is well written, so the story flows. Even reluctant readers should get into this book.

Anyone looking for a good mystery with well-developed characters and great humor should definitely check this book out. Everyone will enjoy reading The Disappearing Jewel of Madagascar.

And you'll enjoy the rest of the Accidental Detectives Myseries in order.

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