Trouble is my business by Lisa Walker
If you enjoyed Lisa Walker’s last novel The girl with the gold bikini, you’ll enjoy this sequel even more, though it must be said it reads perfectly well as a stand-alone. Walker has really settled into her groove, and I found this second story about private investigator Olivia Grace a more smooth flowing mystery with plenty of laughs along the way.
The descriptions of her undercover disguises are hilarious, the fake tans, dyed hair, hippy clothes, as are the thought comments of her assumed persona ‘Nansea’, the comments she worries might be a throwback to the imaginary friends she had as a kid, something she thought she’d outgrown. Her inner Nansea is really cool, ‘the girl who gets her man, never takes no for an answer, and always looks stylish’. However the reader picks up clues that perhaps the disguise is not as convincing as she thinks, and maybe Rosco, her former employer and love interest, finds it all a bit amusing.
This latest adventure has the lot, a missing girl, environmental activists, a bizarre cult, hippies and surfies, cryptic clues, and numerous suspects, all with names starting with the letter A. It’s a lot of fun, and the mystery will keep you guessing until the end.
Themes Detectives, Mystery, Gold Coast, Surfing, Humour.
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.
notes are available. Themes: Detectives, Gold Coast, Yoga,
Surfing, Body image, Sexism.
Paris Syndrome by Lisa Walker
HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9781460755242
(Age: Adolescent) This seemingly light-hearted story, as adolescent
fiction, touches on important aspects of the decisions of young
people who are becoming aware of themselves and their role in the
world. Covering fantasy, dreams, sexual awakening and love, Walker
takes us into the lives of a young woman, Happy (Happiness) Glass,
who is obsessed with all things French. The "Paris Syndrome"
dominates her life, and when all things French are part of her
city's celebrations, she finds herself caught up in more than she
Lisa Walker captures the angst of adolescence in a well-constructed
and believable narrative, with adults in that world offering gentle
support and wise guidance for the young woman. Happy faces more than
just the light-hearted world of adolescence as she seeks to enjoy
life at the same time as she is faced with the risks of letting down
her guard, revealing who she really is to someone who may or may not
like her for this. Wisdom is there in plenty, from wonderfully
crafted interactions with older family and friends, particularly
Professor Tanaka, whose wisdom and kindness enable Happy to come to
terms with herself. This is a good text both for adolescent reading,
and for those who work with adolescents.