CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 1 . . . . September 8, 2017
The school year is only just underway, and there is already another murder in the small town of Moorebridge. Fortunately, young Riley Donovan is the still-somewhat-new-in-town girl. It's Riley's Aunt Ginny who is officially a detective in the town's police force, but it often seems to be young teen Riley who ends up solving the mysteries in the small town.
Alicia is a very well-liked student at Riley's school and has been missing for days. The police have arranged a search party to comb the woods at the edge of town where she was last seen. Sadly, her bludgeoned body is soon discovered, and some of her fellow students have become suspects. Prime suspect Carrie pulls Riley aside one day to plead for her help. She admits to writing an incriminating note but strongly denies having done Alicia any harm.
Despite Alicia's being a very liked and respected young lady, there are quickly several suspects, and Riley, not bound by police procedures, quickly begins the search. Who could commit such an unthinkable crime? Alicia's creepy music teacher Mr. Tod? (If he's so accomplished, why's he teaching music in a small-town high school?) Could it be Tina, who is desperately jealous of Alicia's relationship with Brendan? And if Alicia was seeing Brendan, then why was she wearing a necklace given to her by Simon? There is a lot going on in Moorebridge.
Out of Tune is another very well-paced novel in the "Riley Donovan Mystery" series, and Riley is a thoroughly likeable, engaging young protagonist. Some secondary characters, including Riley's friend Charlie, see some plot development here, but the plot quickly takes off and doesn't let up. Out of Tune is highly recommended for young teen readers who enjoy strong female characters and well-written mysteries.
Norah McClintock grew up in a home full of books in Montreal and decided to become a writer when she was in Grade 7. Norah found fame and world-wide success writing crime fiction. She is a five-time winner of the Arthur Ellis Award. Some of her most popular series are "Chloe and Levesque", "Mike and Riel" and "Robyn Hunter", each featuring a teenage sleuth. In her long career, Norah penned more than sixty young adult novels loved by fans the world over. She passed away in 2017.
Chris Laurie is an Outreach Librarian at Winnipeg Public Library.