High Rise mystery by Sharna Jackson

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Set within the high-rise community of UK residents living in a triangle of residential towers are two young sisters who have a sleuthing heart. Nik (Nikita) is 11, and her older sister, Norva, is 13, and up until the present story have been involved in relatively minor investigations and mysteries. This current tale lands them deep in a serious investigation when they discover the body of their esteemed local art-centre teacher. Their tendency to follow facts and logic (Nik) and the gut-deep feel (Norva) of the situation has them accusing and eliminating many of the fellow residents of their tower block, diving in and out of trash, and getting in the way of the local police investigation. Even their own father falls into the firing line of their suspicion, and slowly they must unravel clues and put together lies and truths to find out who has committed the murder and upset their community.

This is a quirky child-detective tale. With a sharp, staccato style and the local idiom of inner-city, Afro-anglo, UK life, this will initially require some Aussie kids to scratch their heads as they work out the conversation and story line. If they persist, they will discover two slightly eccentric and disarming sleuths and the local characters they share life with. Norva has a passion for the detective series Death in Paradise and there is a homage and hint of the same slightly humorous flavour to detective work in this book. This is book one in a series and so those young readers who can untangle the language and setting oddities will look forward to more from the sisters, Norva and Nik. I enjoyed the light-hearted and quirky detective tale, but that may be because I also enjoy a good English crime drama!

Themes: Murder mystery, High density living - UK.

Carolyn Hull