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The Midnight Tunnel: A Suzanna Snow Mystery

Review

The Midnight Tunnel: A Suzanna Snow Mystery

In 1904, 11-year-old Suzanna Snow spends most of her summer working at a fancy coastal hotel in New Brunswick, Canada. But it isn't Zanna's dream to follow in her parents' footsteps of hotel management; she doesn't care much about doling out cups of tea, working in the kitchen and laundry, or serving guests' every need. Her dream is to become a detective, just like her famous Uncle Bruce who lives in Boston. So in between preparing dinner, running errands, washing dishes, and babysitting young hotel guests, Zanna practices her detective skills.

One of the most important parts of being a detective is having good observational skills, so Zanna always carries a notebook with her to record anything and everything that's interesting. And then one night, life gets extremely interesting when a seven-year-old hotel guest disappears in the middle of a storm. Search parties comb the surrounding forests as guests and staff anxiously await news of the missing Maddie. But no clues are found other than the one Zanna herself finds. She's positive she caught a glimpse of the girl in the servant's tunnel during the storm, but no one will believe her. After an exhaustive search with no results, an expert is called in to the case.

Zanna can't wait for her Uncle Bruce to arrive. He's sure to believe her about seeing Maddie, and then he will welcome Zanna's help on the case that they will solve together. Unfortunately, he doesn't quite live up to her expectations, calling her the hated nickname of "Suzie" and otherwise pretty much ignoring her. But Zanna isn't about to be pushed away; she has a notebook full of clues and lots of suspicious behavior to investigate, and is determined to solve the case.

Angie Frazier delivers an intriguing mystery for the middle-grade crowd that is lots of good, wholesome fun. Its unique setting of a 1904 coastal Canadian town gives it a distinctive foundation from which the excitement explodes. Zanna is an amazing character, filled with determination, curiosity and spunk. I knew I would like her right away when on page one she complains about her mother's list of "social taboos," things a "proper lady" wouldn't do ("Proper. Pah! It was too blazing hot to be proper."). Even at 11, Zanna knows she wants to be a detective and doesn't let anyone stop her (though she does so while still respecting her parents and other adults, for the most part). She also endures the heartbreaking situation of meeting her hero to find out he's not all that heroic after all.

The mystery unfolds quickly with lots of clues planted throughout, and readers will have fun trying to solve the case alongside Zanna. Fans will be asking for more Suzanna Snow mysteries as soon as possible.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on March 1, 2011

The Midnight Tunnel: A Suzanna Snow Mystery
by Angie Frazier

  • Publication Date: March 1, 2011
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press
  • ISBN-10: 0545208629
  • ISBN-13: 9780545208628