Volume 11 Number 1.
Anyone who includes Nancy, Joe, and Frank in their repertoire of fondly remembered book characters can only applaud Eric Wilson's success at establishing a Canadian mystery series for the impressionable and sometimes difficult to please nine-to-twelve age group. Here is a British Columbia teacher who takes every second year off to research and write—an enviable lifestyle. His travels and subsequent stories have covered Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia, and Disneyland.
Disneyland? Why not Calgary's Heritage Park, Louisbourg, or Upper Canada Village? Canada's Wonderland, as Americanized as it is, still could be claimed as Canadian territory. But no, off to California we fly with Liz (Tom being elsewhere this time) and her Aunt Melody, an opera singer. During a worrisome flight (will it land safely. . .it does!) they meet Kingsley, who is not what he seems. The next day at Disneyland, Liz becomes friendly with Serena, daughter of the consul of La Lucena. With Serena is Ram on and his mother, Senora Garcia, the vice-consul. Liz notices that they are being followed by a mysterious lovely lady.
Ramon is kidnapped, and circumstances bring all of the above-mentioned characters together in Frontier Wilderness, hostages of the lovely lady and her mercenary boss, the Dragon. He leads a terrorist group called November 24 and demands gold, media attention, and the release of political prisoners. Liz, with the help of Mateo, who is a not-terrifying terrorist, and Cody, an underdressed undercover policewoman, saves the group and catches the Dragon.
Wilson originally wrote to entice reluctant readers. His opening chapters catch the reader's interest; the pace is quick and breezy. While the characters are stereotyped and predictable, Wilson does write passages of vivid imagery. Liz's stunt as Dracula's bride and certain events during the hostage segment are well-written. Children who have sampled the Austen brand of detection will enjoy this book. Terrorism is, unfortunately, a very real part of our existence. But how about Quebec next? or Newfoundland?
Fran Newman, Spring Valley PS, Brighton, ON.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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