Charlie Chaplin : The Usual Suspect by Phoebe McArthur

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Sometimes life heads in strange directions. 12 year-old Charlotte Chaplin (aka Charlie, or occasionally Lottie) used to live in the city near Kirribilli, but since her parents’ sudden separation her life is on a freefall. She is moving to the country with her mother and leaving her best friend, who also happens to be the Prime Minister’s daughter. Instead she will have to adjust to the quiet and slow life in Gulgong in Central NSW. On arrival she almost immediately becomes involved in a crime mystery and discovers unlikely friends and realises that country life may not be so bad after all.

This book has been written in the style of a Trixie Belden mystery –  a young girl who can solve problems and crimes with only the help of other kids. It will appeal to young readers who love a mystery story. Although there are moments that seem a little contrived and improbable, younger readers will be able to take the leaps over the unbelievable moments.  Recommended for readers aged 10-14.

Themes: Mystery, Theft, Friendship, Family break-up.

Carolyn Hull