A Side of Sabotage: A Quinnie Boyd Mystery
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About the Author
C. M. Surrisi is a graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina. The Maypop Kidnapping is her first novel.
Middle Grade Fiction
A Side of Sabotage: A Quinnie Boyd Mystery (Quinnie Boyd Mysteries #3) by C.M. Surrisi
I had the opportunity to read a digital ARC of this middle grade mystery novel courtesy of NetGalley. A few years ago, I read the Maypop Mystery, and really enjoyed it. This is the third installment of the Quinnie Boyd mystery series, and it is fun to see the characters I like getting a little bit older. Fourteen year old Quinnie is enjoying the summer in Maiden Rock, Maine with her friends. Dominic is a little bit more than just a friend, but he's getting ready to move away. Quinnie's childhood BFF, Zoe, is returning to Maiden Rock after spending over a year in Scotland with her parents.
In the midst of adjusting to Zoe's return, preparing to say goodbye to her boyfriend, and helping out at her father's restaurant, there is something sinister happening in Maiden Rock. A fancy new restaurant has opened in town, and is threatening to take away Gusty's customers. When a friendly food competition between the two restaurants begins, suddenly all sorts of misfortune falls upon Gusty's. Each new problem threatens to ruin her father's business, and Quinnie is pretty sure the owner of the new restaurant is behind all of the trouble. But in order to find proof, Quinnie and her friends will need to dust off their detective caps.
I like that this mystery has enough adventure and tension to make it a compelling read. But like its predecessors, it's not too scary or violent for middle grade readers. I kind of wish Quinnie would trust her mother to help her more when she finds clues or discovers new evidence. Quinnie's mom is also Maiden Rock's sheriff. And while Quinnie wants to solve things on her own, she frequently compromises evidence or creates new problems that only complicate efforts to find the culprit in the restaurant mischief. That frustrates the grownup in me, but I'm sure this book will be a popular mystery among young readers.
"Small-town sleuth Quinnie Boyd goes on high alert when the opening of a fancy new restaurant not only signals competition for her dad's popular local café, Gusty's, but also touches off a series of inexplicable kitchen and backroom mishaps. Coincidence or sabotage? Quinnie has no doubt which--but, as in her previous capers (Vampires on the Run, 2017), finding enough real evidence to convince her mom--the town's hard-nosed sheriff/mayor--without being grounded for life proves a tricky challenge. Surrisi surrounds her pushy protagonist with teen peers who join the investigation with varying degrees of reluctance, and stocks the adult supporting cast with plenty of suspects, obvious and otherwise. She also tucks in much eating and drinking in order to create comical contrasts between the new eatery's haute cuisine ('lobster quenelle poached in seaweed broth and finished with a beam of light') and Gusty's mouthwatering pies, pastries, and like plain fare. Young fans of both cozies and foodie-themed tales will find much to savor in this latest outing."--Booklist--Website
"Back for another outing after Vampires on the Run (2017), Quinnie and her young teen friends of Maiden Rock, Maine (a stereotypical middle-class village that tourists might imagine), get caught up in another mild mystery. Quinnie's BFF, Zoe, is back from two years in Scotland and is finding it hard to slip back into the old routine. Meanwhile Quinnie's favorite boy buddy is just packing up to move back to New Jersey and new friend Ella is facing the challenge of finding her place with (or between) Zoe and Quinnie. On top of all that, a fancy chef has just opened a new restaurant in town that's sure to provide competition for Quinnie's father's more modest but tried-and-true eatery, Gusty's. With the newspaper's Secret Diner set to pick a favorite between the two, someone begins to sabotage Gusty's. Quinnie and her pals set out to discover the perpetrator using surveillance and good problem-solving skills, along with a bit of breaking and entering that gets them all in trouble. Plenty of red herrings will keep readers guessing until the climax. No one is described, but the white default probably prevails. An incomplete resolution of the gang's immature relationship issues provides fodder for the next tale. Only mildly suspenseful, but between the mystery and familiar friendship problems, amusing enough to sustain interest."--Kirkus Reviews--Journal