The girl with the gold bikini by Lisa Walker
Wakefield Press, 2020. ISBN: 9781743056875.
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Olivia Grace has just finished school and wants to be a private investigator like Nancy Drew or Veronica Mars, and gets a job working for former school mate Rosco at Gold Star Investigations. She's a fun but awkward heroine, always getting into bizarre comical situations, that would make a great comedy film. She's tied herself in knots trying to master speed yoga instruction in an evening, she's posed as a femme fatale at a dating night, she's swum with sharks, she's braved the stand-up comedy circuit. There is just one laugh after another.
The setting is the Gold Coast, the world of sun, surf and meter maids, the girls in the gold bikinis who add coins to parking meters. A devourer of Mars Bars, Olivia is not the usual meter maid type, but even this is a challenge she takes in her stride, along with the occasional headstand when required. Whilst it is a light and funny plot, there are some unexpected twists as in all good detective stories, and also a positive affirmation of being true to oneself, having courage, and overcoming discrimination based on appearance or gender. Readers who enjoy comedy and detective stories will enjoy this book. And for surf lovers the descriptions of surfing the waves are brilliant.
Teaching notes are available. Themes: Detectives, Gold Coast, Yoga, Surfing, Body image, Sexism.