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Chrystine Brouillet

Montreal La courte echelle, 1991. 93pp, paper, $7.95
ISBN 2-89021-160-6. (Roman-Jeunesse). CIP

Grades 4 to 7/Ages 9 to 12
Reviewed by Doris Lemoine

Volume 19 Number 6
1991 November

Catherine and Stephanie, the insepa­rable investigators, arc confronted with yet another mystery in this fifth novel by Chrystine Brouillet in the series "Roman -Jeunesse."

Prior to their arrival at her uncle's ski resort at Pic Blanc, Catherine is warned by her cousin Oliver that a strange guest, by the name of George Smith, is registered at the lodge. Though he pretends to be enjoying the fresh mountain air, Mr. Smith hardly spends time on the ski slopes, an hour a day at the most, and always at four o'clock, after having heard a wolf's howl. (It is common knowledge that there are no wolves to be found in the area.) Will the three accomplices be able to solve the case of the mysterious guest?

Catherine is determined to find out who is responsible for the vol du siecle, or burglary of the century. Stephanie, who is forever in love, sometimes finds it difficult to concentrate on the problem at hand but does collaborate every inch of the way with her two friends.

Olivier, though confined to a wheelchair as a result of a skiing accident, still has quite a few tricks up his sleeve to find and deal with the culprit. The trio will eventually find out what relationship exists between George Smith, Patrick, the ski instructor, and Jocelyne, a casual guest, but not without having to overcome a few obstacles, including a violent snowstorm and being on their own in the face of danger.

Chrystine Brouillet, well known as a detective novelist for both children and adults, is true to her style. The story is well written, the chapters are short and easy to read, and her characters are believable. There is an atmosphere of excitement and suspense, which is maintained throughout. Reluctant readers will unconsciously become enraptured in the action-packed epi­sodes and may find themselves reading above their usual reading level as they try to unravel the mystery. The appeal of suspense being strong among young readers in this age group, this novel should be popular.

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