cover image The Case of the Goblin Pearls

The Case of the Goblin Pearls

Laurence Yep. HarperCollins, $14.95 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-06-024444-6

Yep (The Khan's Daughter, reviewed above) is off to a roaring start with this launch to a mystery series set in San Francisco's Chinatown. As it begins, 12-year-old Lily's glamorous great-aunt (""Tiger Lil"") comes to visit from Hollywood. A whirlwind of energy, the 60-something former film star ropes Lily and her family and friends into helping with a float she's been hired to organize for the Chinese New Year parade. In the process, Lily learns a great deal about her personal and cultural heritage, and she and her ""auntie"" help unravel an insurance scam involving a stolen pearl necklace, as well as uncover a sweatshop operation at which the mother of one of Lily's school friends is haplessly employed. Snappy dialogue, realistic characterizations and a plot with lots of action keep the pages turning, and the layers of social relevance (the sweatshop story line; Lily's growing realization of the complexities of her Chinese heritage) add substance. Readers will look forward to more installments featuring this spunky heroine-not to mention her wisecracking auntie. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)