cover image Max and Maddy and the Chocolate Money Mystery

Max and Maddy and the Chocolate Money Mystery

Alexander McCall Smith, , illus. by Macky Pamintuan. . Bloomsbury, $9.95 (80pp) ISBN 978-1-59990-036-0

In this comically convoluted caper, one of two launch titles in the paper-over-board Max & Maddy series, Smith (the bestselling adult mystery writer and also author of the Harriet Bean series) introduces a pair of young sleuths whose famous detective parents have been run out of business by slimy Professor Sardine. When the siblings receive a letter from a wealthy Swiss banker, asking for their help to solve a string of bank robberies (involving a Saint Bernard, as it turns out), they eagerly hop on a plane. Quick-thinking Max hatches a plan to place an ad in the paper announcing that their (borrowed) Saint Bernard needs a new home, believing that the person who has been orchestrating the canine crimes will answer the ad. The scheme works flawlessly, and some readers may guess to whom the clues will lead.... Smith adds some snippets of slapstick as the youngsters retrieve the missing money, escape from a perilously high cable car and, with the help of the bank-robbing canines, flee from the villain and his sidekick. Alas, the slimy villain slips away, but he'll be back—in Max and Maddy and the Bursting Balloons Mystery (ISBN 978-1-59990-035-3), due out the same month—an equally fast-moving, lighthearted mystery. Ages 7-9. (Mar.)