Sunday 23 January 2022

Friday Barnes: Undercover

Friday Barnes: Undercover by R.A. Spratt (Puffin) PB RRP $15.99 ISBN 9781761043659

Reviewed by Kathleen Grace

This is the tenth book in the bestselling series about girl detective Friday Barnes who has returned with a whole new mystery to solve. At the end of the last book, Friday is offered a job by Governor Offredi from Uffizi. However, she has a more pressing, personal problem: her friend Binky calls her from Norway where he is incarcerated for dereliction of duty. Binky says he was attacked by a polar bear and is facing court martial. No wonder Friday drops everything and travels 3,000 kilometres with her wealthy friend Melanie, leaving behind Ian for whom she was warm feelings.

In Oslo, there is more than one mystery to solve. Someone – perhaps the king, who knows – is trying to keep Binky and Princess Ingrid apart. Who has stolen the painting which was in a museum with all doors locked? And will Melanie persuade Friday to go to the royal ball in her usual brown cardigan?

Author Spratt’s book series – the others are Nanny Piggins and The Peski Kids – have been best-selling, and it’s easy to see why. In Friday Barnes she has created a likable, super-clever, and daring protagonist. Her books are fast-paced and likely to appeal to intelligent readers aged 8 to 12 years old.

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