Kensy and Max: Out of sight by Jacqueline Harvey

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Kensy and Max series. Penguin Random House, 2019. ISBN: 9780143791928.
(Age: 9-12) Highly recommended. Themes: Adventures, Mystery, Spies, Friendship, Problem Solving, Spy School for children, Missing persons, France, Travel. Jacqueline Harvey's fourth book in the Kensy and Max series: Out of Sight, is a fast paced and action packed read. The author cleverly keeps the reader up to date with the twins' story so far by providing case notes, a map and a cast of characters. The 11 year old twins are Pharos agents in training and attend the Central London Free School which has a mixture of trainee agents and regular school children. There are complicated ways for the trainee agents to get to their secret classrooms and unfortunately Kensy and Autumn early on in the story are followed by a new student who infiltrates the secret area and has to be dealt with very carefully.
Throughout the story the reader is reminded of previous adventures had by the twins and the fact that their parents who have been missing for many years are all back together again living comfortably in their fortress-like home in London. However nothing is quite what it seems in this entertaining series and once again the twins and their family are drawn into another mystery. Missing journalists from the family-run paper and the theft of valuable artefacts sends both the twins, their father and their loyal companions on perilous journeys.
Key to this story is a new drama teacher at the school, Theo Richardson, who is an accredited agent but is living a double life. He trains the students in becoming masters of disguises and convinces Kensy to commit what turns out to be acts of crime in a roundabout way. Both Kensy, who has amazing skills as an inventor, and Max, who is a master of coding, use their skills to thwart the criminals. They are ably assisted by Carlos and Autumn who join them on an adventure to Paris where they eventually solve the mystery of the missing journalist and the stolen valuables.
For middle primary school aged readers to teens, this is an exciting read which holds your interest throughout. It contains all the elements that children want in a story - humour, justice, belonging, danger, wonder and there is a hint of a budding relationship between Max and Autumn. The story though does not solve the challenging code Max has been trying to decipher neither does it let the reader know how the twins go in their first agent-in-training review. The next book will be eagerly awaited by fans of the Kensy and Max series.
Kathryn Beilby