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Chrystine Brouillet

Montreal, La courte echelle, 1991. 154pp, paper, $7.95
ISBN 2-90021-148-7. CIP

Grades 9 and up/Ages 14 and up
Reviewed by Doris Lemoine.

Volume 19 Number 6
1991 November

Christmas in Florida! Can you think of a better way to spend your holidays? Invited by their grandparents to spend ten days in Florida, Natasha and her cousin Pierre set off with enthusiasm and a little anxiety on their first plane trip away from home. Most of us would equate the sun, the beach and the sea with rest and relaxation, but not this duo. Though new love is in the air, there are mysterious happenings from the very start — Dan, a skilful swimmer, drowns, sea shell collecting turns out to be more than a hobby for the handsome Jeremy, and strange characters abound, some with stranger names like Flash-Fluo. Even on holidays, Natasha, whose dream is to become a private investiga­tor, cannot resist delving into Dan's drowning. To her astonishment, Jeremy is more involved than she would like to admit. As for Pierre, his interest in Maria far surpasses his concern about busting a drug ring, and yet....

This second novel by Chrystine Brouillet in the series "Roman+" marks the return of Natasha and Pierre, who first appeared in Un jeu dangereux (La courte echelle, 1989). Une plage trop chaude remains a detective novel, complete with action and suspense, yet there is an undercurrent of warmth, of affection and of loyalty that makes it singular. Chrystine Brouillet shows great attachment to her main characters, yet she lets thorn grow. Natasha's personality is well rounded — she is intelligent, level-headed, determined and relentless — but still retains the characteristics of an adolescent. Her moods, her dreams, her uncertainties make her a realistic heroine. The relationship between Natasha and Pierre and their grandparents is heart­warming, as is their genuine concern for others. Without sounding too technical, Brouillet, whose research is well documented, informs the reader about the natural environment and the flora and fauna of the area.

A detective novel that is sure to please.

Doris Lemoine, Bureau de l'education francaise, Winnipeg, Man.
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