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Cora Flash #1

Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar

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If you are looking for an exciting new Kids Mystery Book Series, then look no further! Introducing Cora Flash! Cora Flash is ecstatic when she finally convinces her mom to let her take a train ride by herself to visit a relative in the mountains. Once on board, Cora meets a cast of intriguing characters, and stumbles upon her very own mystery: A valuable diamond has gone missing, and only one of her fellow travellers could have stolen it. It's up to our novice detective to solve the crime before the train reaches its destination - or the thief reaches Cora. This is the first book in the 'Cora Flash' series. Now available: 'Cora Flash and the Mystery of the Haunted Hotel'.If you love Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown, this action packed mystery adventure is for you. Perfect for children ages 9-12.

182 pages, Paperback

First published February 3, 2012

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About the author

Tommy Davey

4 books29 followers
Tommy Davey spent his youth writing mystery stories and plays, and watching reruns of Three's Company until every line of dialogue was permanently burned into his memory. When not writing, he enjoys traveling to favorite destinations including New York City and Paris, which he plans to feature in future stories. He lives in Toronto, where he was born and raised, with a Norfolk Terrier named Calvin.

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5 stars
53 (48%)
4 stars
27 (24%)
3 stars
21 (19%)
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5 (4%)
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4 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 34 reviews
Profile Image for SA Krishnan.
Author 35 books160 followers
August 16, 2020
Very cute mystery story for children.

Cora is a pre-teen and she is traveling in the train for the first time all by herself, when a precious gem goes missing. The little Cora then takes it upon herself to solve the mystery.The story is fun and cute and it was amazing to watch Cora solve the mystery with all the tools she has. Loved it.
425 reviews1 follower
August 10, 2012
Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar is a middle-grade book reminiscent of the old black and white mystery movies. Cora is excited to be taking her first train ride. In fact, she's travelling alone for the first time, and she's making new friends. Then a priceless gem disappears and everyone is a suspect.

This is a great MG book that any kid would love. It even has a cute dog. Cora is smart and entertaining. I loved her creative use of social networking. And we don't even have to wait for the second installment in the series. Cora Flash and the Mystery of the Haunted Hotel has just been released!

I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Erica.
8 reviews25 followers
August 9, 2012
A fun mystery book for pre-teens. Even this mom loved reading it and pretending I was part of Cora Flash's friends.
Profile Image for Kriss.
296 reviews
August 20, 2012
Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar  a middle school mystery thats breath of fresh air in a quagmire of books being targeted to our young readers. 

Do you remember the days when you would gather your friends up in main club house in the neighborhood, start handing out paper bags, notebooks, pencils magnifying glasses and give everyone the 411 on Mrs. Salendeski's missing cat? No? Seriously? You never had a great mystery you had to solve? I think I feel sorry for you! If you did, well go grab this series for you, for your kids, for your grandkids, for your local library!

Growing up I was constantly looking, perhaps even inventing just to have a mystery to investigate and solve.  Constantly engrossed in one book or another there is one series that sticks out in my mind,  Nancy Drew and of course the  Hardy Boys. I am really lucky to have the full set of Nancy Drew my mother read as a girl and kept collecting to be able to pass on to her me. My Hardy Boys I liberated from my uncle's boyhood book collection.

(Later I moved on to be more concerned with reading the next Tiger Beat magazine than the next mystery. But you have to admit Shaun made things so much fun, and I never would smoke as a teen because of Shaun, so ... OH ya, we need to talk about Cora and solving mysteries! SORRY! I got distracted looking at Shaun...)

*clearing my throat*

Cora Flash is a bright, highly intelligent, polite and mature 11 year old. Her adventure starts the minute she boards the train on her way to see her Uncle. She has a cell phone,  bag full of candy and an old fashion sense of adventure!

FIVE reasons why I give Cora Flash 5 of 5 stars false

LANGAUGE: Definitely age appropriate. The big problem with Young Adult books is they are no longer for young adults. They have sex, curse words and serious situations I, as a mom, do not want my kids reading about. They have enough serious issues to deal with just getting through a day at school to have a book give them something to confuse and worry them more. The worry for me is the middle age books are also moving forward in presenting kids with to much to soon. Cora Flash in no way does this. It says 9-12 and it means it. There are no curse words, not even veiled ones, no calumnious terms, it is a book targeted for kids on all fronts. I have to give this

FUN MYSTERY: Who doesn't love a good mystery! This is one of those great Whodunits. It has a mysterious stranger with a shiny metal brief case, a friendly grandma-like character with her friendly pet dog, a couple in love, a moody teenager, a quirky nervous fellow, and; instead of the butler, we have the conductor! Having elements that are familiar for kids, such as the phone, and adding the train which many kids are not familiar with create curiosity and a draw. By adding an air of mystery right off the bat kids will be wanting to read the book. It has all the elements of a grand mystery to solve. Any child ages of 9-12 will fall in love with Cora....and bug you to buy a cell phone and always send them to visit relatives with a huge bag of candy, fair warning!

GREAT HEROINE: I fell in love with her before the end of the first chapter. Her love of old black and white mystery movies made me feel 11 again and wondering how fast I would have found Mrs. Salendeski's missing cat if I had a cell phone and Facebook! She is confident but not overly so. She makes sure she checks in with her mother, and even when she takes a chance, it is not one that would have put her in to much danger. She doesn't even pig out on the candy! Plus with the image of her from the cover, I can just picture her dimples.

COOL COVER: The cover is really great. It is bright, simple and recognizable. Just what kids (and adults) like. Let's face it just like I did, kids are drawn to books and will be judging them by the cover. The cover shows you a fun story is to be had and the look on Cora's face is a curious draw right off the bat!

IT IS A SERIES!!!: As mentioned above, many an hour did I spend reading Nancy Drew. There are memories piled high because of Nancy Drew. I want the same thing for my kids, I want them to find the rush and excitement as they read an adeventure with such a loveable safe character. It is safe for all types of kids. Harry Potter was to dark for one kid, but safe for another. Cora would have been safe and enjoyed by both!

To say it hit it's target audience is an understatement. I hope we find more books like this out there and I really hope that the pile of Cora Flash books looks like the one above of Nancy Drew in the years to come! What a great find!

Profile Image for Alba Arango.
Author 23 books106 followers
June 4, 2021
I would definitely consider this lower middle grade, for 8-9 year old kids. Maybe a good transition from chapter books.

11-year-old Cora Flash is taking her first solo train trip up to Topaz Mountain. On the way, she meets and befriends a small group of travelers. All is well until a valuable diamond is stolen, and the culprit must be one of the group. As the investigating detective begins his interrogations, Cora realizes the man may be on the wrong track, and it may be up to her to find the thief and the diamond before it’s too late.

What I liked: cute mystery, with a Murder on the Orient Express motif (minus the murder). It’s a fast read with identifiable characters. I like that the ending leads right into the next mystery.

What I didn’t like: the beginning is slow, not much really happens, and the mystery itself doesn’t begin until the end of chapter 4. But what bothers me the most is the way Cora talks—she speaks like an adult. No 11-year-old that I know says things like “I made a mental note of this trivial detail” or “I woke up in the morning feeling refreshed” or “my hunch was incorrect.” Her speech throws her character off, like she should be quite a bit older, but her actions are definitely those of an 11-year-old.

3.5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Carol Caldwell.
Author 3 books5 followers
September 10, 2020
Cora is a brave kid, going on a two day train trip alone. Well, she isn't alone for long because she is a curious sort and makes friends with everyone she meets. It's a good mystery and story. Well written.
29 reviews
February 5, 2017
Great book!!!!!

I loved this book because I personally love mystery and adventure. This was all of that combine!!!!! I can't wait to read the second and third books!!!!!!
Profile Image for papasteve.
614 reviews7 followers
September 5, 2020
A fun kids book that was a nice quick respite from being in the middle of an 8 book epic fantasy series.
Profile Image for Aimee.
213 reviews1 follower
September 6, 2020
Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar is a pretty good book. I would give this book 3.6 stars. I would like to read the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Nai.
162 reviews13 followers
August 4, 2012
Fear not dear readers! This is not a form of naimeless procrastination against the impending doom of Singularity.

Really, I can justify this.
Singularity - one of the collaborative projects for the AGSM community gallery

One last thing before we begin.

WARNING , this review becomes an 'essay' on the influence of young adult fiction on the future, and where young adults will lead us in a ever-shrinking earth. Cora Flash is the future.

This review is also a bit of it's own mystery (but only of my mind?). The links lead to interesting places, and you'll find some surprises along the way. There are many decoys and traps along the way.

By writing this now, (Monday night and possibly on Friday night) I free up time later in the week to turn the pretty reality in my head into a probably awful reality in life. It looks really great in my head though. I have a plan. It involves fishing wire.

As I begin reading, and honestly, I'm writing the review as I'm reading the book quite literally. I'm not quite sure what to expect from Cora Flash. I actually started the book at work during my coffee breaks  (I read 12/82 pages) but when I got offered an re-edited version to review I emailed Emlyn Chand back within minutes of reading the email from Novel Publicity.

This does not mean I thought the book was bad from the first 12 pages. Contrary to that, I simply wanted to analyze how the book changed from first to second edit. There are a few things, that I'd like to mention as great additions to the newly edited version.

The flow is better - there isn't as much broken dialogue, and the paragraph size is now in chunks as opposed to bite-sized bits.
There were a few 'danger-stranger' words. I'm not going to mention what they were, but they are typical words, used too often in narrative writing. Like 'he said, she said, they all said etc.' There were never however really annoying words used over & over again.
The author's voice remained the same. In fact, as it should be with good editing, the voice of the author, and his style of writing flowed better, and was more visible. I'm mixing senses, but I tend to do that. What I'm trying to say I suppose, is that the difference between the first and second edits is:

clarity & beauty

As I read this book open on two different devices with each version on it's own screen and the back end of wordpress open on a third monitor. This simply means that differences will jump out at me because I have two visual spaces to compare drafts.  The living room has a wall of technology that makes being a grammar nerd fun. So I'm visually analyzing two versions of the same book, while reading the second version.

Yes, I am a nerd, and yes I am 'listening/watching' Star Trek TNG while I'm doing all this. So, new Cora the Flash has a highly amusing sound track. I'm the ultimate adventure nerd? I hope you're all singing the opening credits right now. It should be Cora's theme song - you know if it weren't copyrighted. :D. Cora is adorable, in the same way that Naomi Wildman is on Voyager.

Read the rest at http://wp.me/p1gkrF-fN
Profile Image for Crystal.
545 reviews35 followers
August 22, 2012
Today for a little something different, Cora Flash from Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar stopped by to interview me to find out my thoughts on the book. It's kind of like a review in an interview. Check it out and let me know your thoughts on the format.

Cora: What did you think of the setting of Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar?

I loved it. I think it worked great for this novel. Train travel is just not used like it use to be so it is a novelty and really added something to the book. It's like a throwback to the great old movies that you seem to like so much. I also like it because it provides a closed in and limited environment. Only so many people can be involved in the theft. It heightens the tension as well because you are trapped on a train with a thief.

Cora: Do you think I was nosy or do you think I really just wanted to help.

Oh I definitely think you wanted to help. I thought you handled yourself well for your age. I thought you were very aware of your setting and what was going on around you. You also seemed a good judge of character. Your mind always seemed to be working. I really enjoyed reading about you and getting to know you. I think you could grow into quite a fine detective!

Cora: Okay, who besides me was your favorite person on the train from the first part of the book (we don't want to give anything away)?

I liked the newlyweds Ted and Sheila. I liked how they took you in right away, befriended you but didn't talk down to you. They were friendly and helpful to you and to the others.

Cora: What is one thing outside of the plot that stands out to you about the book?

The breakfast that was served, I am still thinking of how yummy the french toast sounded.

Cora: Ms. Fulcher, um, I notice you are a little bit out of the target audience for Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar, in fact, don't you have a son my age? With that in mind, what do you think of the book for it's age group as a mom and also what do you think of the book as a mom.

For the age group I think the book is perfect. I think it will read perfect and hold middle grader's (who it is aimed for, and who you pointed out I do have one of) attention perfectly. And while you, the heroine of the story are female, I think the story can appeal to both male and female. It has action, it has a mystery to figure out, it has a cute dog. I found Cora Flash to be very age appropriate, nothing that would make me hide it from even my 7-year old if he wanted to embark on an above average chapter book for him.

As a mom and a reader, I loved the book. It held my attention on a night I was finishing up a very boring work project. I can promise that all I wanted to do was sleep but you, Cora and your mystery was able to keep me going until 1 in the morning. I really enjoyed your spunk and your mystery solving skills. The book was fun, the mystery interesting and it kept me guessing until the end. So I would say it scored well on both counts.

Cora: So now I'm curious, I know you rate your reviews typically, how would you rate the book about me? And would you read the next book in my series, Cora Flash and the Mystery of the Haunted Hotel?

Cora, I would rate Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar a 4.5 out of 5. And I would definitely read the next book Cora Flash and the Mystery of the Haunted Hotel as well as recommend both books to my 11-year-old son. Too bad you aren't real, I would love to introduce you to him :)

Thanks for interviewing me today Cora, this was definitely different. I really enjoyed reading your adventures in Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar and I look forward to more of your adventures by Tommy Davey!
Profile Image for Auggie.
243 reviews78 followers
July 31, 2012
In a word: Cute.

Cora flash is a middlegrade book about a curious little snipe name Cora who finds herself in a big adventure, and a whole lot of trouble, on her very first solo train ride to see her Uncle. A diamond has been stolen and only a handful of people in the dining car are suspects. All seem friendly, all seem incapable of such a dastardly dead! It's up to the Inspector, and of course Cora who has an unassuming presence and thus a useful perspective, to discover the truth behind the missing diamond of Madagascar!

I wouldn't venture to call this middlegrade necessarily. I would actually be more inclined to group this with "chapter books" as far as the intended audience, or at least the one who would enjoy this book the most.

Despite the easy writing style, which is a little too simplistic for adults, the book is the perfect level for children who have grown out of the "My first chapter book" section at their local bookstore but aren't quite advanced enough yet to take on stories in the middlgrade area like "Fablehaven", "Percy Jackson", "Chronicles of the Chrestromanci" or other such books.

There were a few confusing moments in the book where something was said to be done, but then not actually done, such as when Ms. Bronwyn said "We shan't talk about this any longer", regarding the diamond theory, and then immediately following that statement they're all talking about it again, herself included!

I did find Cora to be a little flat... not nearly as curious or troublemaking as I was hoping. Plus, she figured things out awful quickly. I suspect that the book could have been quite a bit longer. But then again, if it had been, it wouldn't quite be fit for the age-group that it was directed towards I suppose. This would make a very cute children's movie also, I suspect.

There are moments of very odd reasoning as to why the group should or shouldn't do something. The person reasoning sounds very serious, but what they are saying seems like a joke. At any rate, I would have to say that the style of this book is the majority of the reason I'm giving it a 3/5. The plot and the "mystery" of it was actually pretty enjoyable.

Just a note: There is a new and edited version of this book that's a bit more updated than the one that I read. Thus some of the previous errors that I may have mentioned have probably been rectified. Give it a look see!

Things I enjoyed:

This was rather a cute little mystery, and I was guessing at who could have stolen the diamond from the very first. By the first little bit of the book I have to say that my guess was on Abby, even though she was one of my favorite characters by that point!

I'm not going to ruin it of course by telling you who it was, but I can tell you... it'll be a surprise!

The little dog Calvin was a dear thing! I actually found myself wanting the dog for my own while reading. My absolute favorite part of the book was the cute and unexpected exchange between the Inspector and Calvin! Precious Precious!

The characters were quirky and each had their own special personality which I think children will appreciate.

The ending is solid and leads in plenty well to the next mystery in the Cora Flash series which I feel children will be very interested in after reading this first one.

Pick this one up for your little reading fiends!
Profile Image for Penny.
Author 8 books37 followers
August 3, 2012
For my complete review, please visit Perpetual Chaos of a Wandering Mind.

Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar engages, entertains, and connects, but Tommy Davey carefully avoids condescending to his audience. He manages to address concerns of parents but still provides the sense of adventure kids are looking for. The mystery intrigues, the clues skillfully placed, the villain probably unexpected for a child, and the caper inventive and well-executed. He accomplishes all this, and a bit of peril to boot, while Cora (and the reader) stay safe and sound. While laws are broken, threats made, and plots discovered, Davey spurns the sinister and seamy.

Davey manages to step into a tween's world and her shoes, and embraces such a child's sensibilities. The mobile phone she wears on a lanyard around her neck keeps her connected to her mother, but Cora exerts her independence in choosing what, when and how to communicate. Cora freely roams about her world, poking into places she doesn't belong, engages in a bit of mischief and a bit of skullduggery, and becomes the object of the villain's machinations. Davey even manages to squeeze in a bit of "gross factor", something every child loves or loves to hate.

Cora's world is neatly confined to the end of the train, a detective takes her under his wing, and parental figures at either end of the line anchor her safely and securely in their protection. Cora solves problems in a distinctly 21st century manner, to which tweens today can relate.

This, the first of a series of books, ensures Cora Flash will solve mysteries far and wide with her keen powers of observation and deduction. However, it may feel just a touch too simplistic for today's sophisticated and media-savvy tween. They may find this book a touch on the quiet side.

Bottom line: In Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar, Tommy Davey provides an engaging story for tweens, a little bit scary, with a lot of adventure and the opportunity to stretch their sleuthing skills. His next book, Cora Flash and the Mystery of the Haunted Hotel, looks just as promising.

FTC disclaimer:  An electronic copy of this book was provided by the author or their agent with the understanding I would publish a fair and honest review.  I receive no other compensation for this content.

Profile Image for Anne Chaconas.
Author 2 books81 followers
August 2, 2012
My favorite books around the time I was 8 or 9 years old (and probably on through my awkward teenybopper years) were the books in the Encyclopedia Brown and Choose Your Own Adventure series. I have particularly fond memories of the Encyclopedia Brown mysteries, which I was invariably unable to solve, but which still entertained me to no end.

True to my younger self, I had a blast reading about the latest young girl sleuth to burst onto the scene: Tommy Davey’s very own Cora Flash.

Let’s begin by stating the obvious: How can you not love someone with the last name Flash? It’s both reminiscent of old-school kid sleuth stories, and makes me think of comic strip hero Flash Gordon. This is clearly a win-win. It also meshes incredibly well with Cora’s spunky personality and, as any kid sleuth worth his or her salt will own up to, insatiable curiosity.

The Diamond of Madagascar lives up to Cora’s quick wit. The story is fast-paced (took me perhaps a total of two hours to read through the book, if that), and is crafted to keep the young kids it’s aimed towards entertained. The action takes place entirely in the same location (a train bound for the mountains) which, on the surface, might seem like a stale idea but, like Russell Crowe’s seafaring epic Master and Commander has proven, is actually a fantastic way to contain a story if done correctly. And Davey certainly did it correctly.

I loved the characters: the serious inspector, the dog-toting old woman, the lovestruck honeymooners, the angsty college student (and there are more, if you can believe it). The story itself is, as I’ve said of other children’s books I’ve enjoyed, simple but not simplistic. The fact that there’s a mystery tied in keeps things interesting and keeps the reader trying to guess the outcome. It also has some humorous moments dealing with (very mild) potty humor, which made me giggle.

In the interest of not giving the plot away, I won’t say much about it except to say that it was endearing and well done (although if my daughter ever keeps me in the dark about her being in some diamond heist while she’s on a train without me, like Cora does with her mother, she’s in for some serious grounding when she gets home). I loved that all the characters were given very definite traits in such a short span, and that the story never felt like it was missing anything.

As a mom to a very rambunctious and opinionated toddler, I’m always looking for books that will engage her now, and books that will entertain her in the years to come. Cora is definitely making her way onto my kid’s bookshelf. I look forward to reading the next books in the Cora series (and it looks like I won’t have long to wait; Cora Flash and the Mystery of the Haunted Hotel is already available). I’m excited!

Oh, and the best part about Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar? I was finally able to solve the mystery. BEFORE the end of the book. Encyclopedia Brown would be proud.

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Pooja Sathyanarayanan.
127 reviews25 followers
August 14, 2012
When I was eleven years old, apart from waiting for a letter from Hogwarts, mysteries were definitely the rage! I grew up on a steady diet of Nancy Drew, Sammy Keyes and Hardy Boys and I'm sure I would've adored this independent, cell-phone toting and totally cute heroine! Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar is a fun train heist mystery reminiscent of the classic Murder on the Orient Express. It's fast paced, clever and I loved that it was the kind of mystery I could solve along with Cora. There are clues scattered all over and enough suspects to keep you guessing!

I'm usually pretty picky about the kind of mysteries I love reading, so here are five clues that'll help you figure out if Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar is your kind of mystery!

1. It features a fun and young heroine

Cora Flash is probably a slightly mature version of your average eleven year old and I loved that! I can see Cora growing throughout the series and it's so great that she's a eleven year old amateur tween detective!

2. Quirky whodunnit anyone?

Whodunnits are my favourite kind of mystery! Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar was great at being a traditional whodunnit for the younger generation. The cast is colourful and quirky. The suspects range from a moody teenager, a couple on their honeymoon to an old woman with a cute dog and they ALL have a motive (who wouldn't want to steal a super precious diamond and get super rich, anyway?). I also loved how the author didn't shy away from explaining the whys and hows of different situations.

3. It's all in the cover

It's a great cover! If you like what you see, you'll probably like this book because the cover spells out what the book is all about!

4. It's a neat mystery

Everybody seems to have equal motive and the clues are there from the beginning. I hate it when mysteries are resolved by suddenly introducing a new character or are filled with red herrings... Cora Flash does not do that! From the start, you are given the suspects and everything happens in the train. I must also say the resolution was refreshing!


Oh yes, there's more. If you're looking for a simple and fun mystery series that doesn't pretend to be anything else, Cora Flash seems to be a great choice! I cannot wait for the second book in the series. The cover looks equally cute and we already know the mystery takes place in Topaz Mountain, where Cora's uncle lives.
Profile Image for Lissette.
Author 25 books104 followers
August 24, 2012
Ever since she can remember, Cora Flash has found the idea of Topaz Mountain. Her uncle lives there and she's always wanted to visit him. When the opportunity arrives where she can do just that, her happiness knows no bounds. The best part of about taking a trip to see her uncle is the fact that she'll be taking it alone. Granted, her mother isn't too happy about that, but she's willing to give her little girl the chance to show that she really is growing up and that she's able to take care of herself.

Cora feels a little nervous about taking the train alone, but she also finds herself exhilarated by the idea. She'll be able to do whatever she wants, when she wants to do it, and there's no one around to tell her when she needs to go to bed. This also adds to her excitement. Deep inside, she wants to prove to her mother that she really can take care of herself.

Settling in for the ride, Cora finds herself making a slew of friends. Mrs. Bronwyn and her dog, Calvin, are certainly intriguing as is the young couple, Sheila and Ted. A man with dark glasses is certainly someone to keep an eye on as is the teenage girl named Abby who seems intent on keeping to herself. Willy, the attendant, is very nice and takes her under his wing from the moment they meet. Yet it's the mysterious Mr. Sloane with his shiny silver suitcase that really catches her attention. She's curious to know what he's hoarding so protectively, but knows it's none of her business and soon finds other things to keep herself occupied with.

When the Diamond of Madagascar, a prize someone on Topaz Mountain has acquired for big bucks, goes missing, Cora finds herself in the midst of a situation she never imagined herself to be in. Everyone is now a suspect and it's up to her to find out what's going on before they get out of hand. As the mystery deepens, Cora realizes that she'll need to figure things out and fast. With time being of the essence, she dives head on in hopes of discovering the culprit before the end of their ride fast approaches in hopes of clearing her name and that of all those involved.

This was such a delightful story. I enjoyed every minute. A quick read that definitely allows the reader to immerse him/herself in a world surrounding a little girl who's sole intent is to reach Topaz Mountain in order to spend some time with her uncle. Beautifully written, Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar is sure to keep your attention glued to every page as you try to discover the secrets surrounding the mystery of the missing diamond. This is definitely a story that anyone of any age will enjoy!
Profile Image for Carrie.
362 reviews5 followers
August 22, 2012
Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar is a fast paced, delightful read perfectly suited for children aged 9-13. The heroine, Cora, is traveling by train to visit her uncle on Topaz Mountain. This is Cora’s first train ride and also the first time she has been allowed to travel alone. During the trip Cora meets some interesting people: the newlyweds on their honeymoon, the college girl traveling to visit her father, the nervous man who keeps to himself and a friendly old woman and her dog who is a loveable grandmother-type.

All of the travelers are intrigued by this quiet, mysterious passenger who is never without his silver briefcase. His secretiveness is made clear when he suddenly announces the large and very valuable diamond he was transporting has been stolen. It becomes obvious the only person who could have taken the diamond was one of the people Cora has so recently become acquainted with. But who?

I really enjoyed this story. The plot moved along briskly but it wasn’t overly complex, a perfect combination for a middle-grade reader whose attention span can be limited. The plot and the heroine, Cora, reminded me of the Bobbsey Twins adventures, a series of books with sets of twins as the mystery solvers. Cora is more mature than your average 11 year old I think, something demonstrated by the fact her mother allowed her to take this trip in the first place plus her delight over discovering the lounge car at the back of the train, a car well stocked with books, magazines, and Cora’s personal favorite: National Geographic. But Cora is also a typical 11 year old. Her mother puts a huge bag of mixed candy in her bag (to Cora’s delight) and she enjoys her first root beer float. Those simple bits of information helped to create a realistic, believable character.

Cora’s determination to solve the mystery and her willingness to be creative (such as how she manages to eavesdrop on the Inspector’s interrogations of the other passengers) was extremely entertaining. Her methods of sleuthing weren’t over the top but quite logical and reasonable for an 11 year old to do. The author also used just enough suspense and tension to make the reader fear for Cora’s safety as she gets closer to figuring out who the thief is.

I think this is a fabulous book to give to a younger reader who enjoys mysteries. In fact, I can’t wait to read book number two in the series!

Four out of five stars!
Profile Image for Cynthia.
684 reviews299 followers
August 7, 2012
A nod to Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (without the murder of course), 11-year-old Cora Flash has her first adventure on a train when the priceless diamond of Madagascar disappears on-route. Travelling alone, Cora makes a few friends along the journey (including a cute puppy!) and with this colourful cast of suspects confined to the train, Cora helps the undercover Inspector to solve the case before the train arrives at its final destination and the diamond is lost forever.

Cora is a pretty likable and resourceful girl, though at times she seems to know more than an average 11-year-old but others don’t know seemingly simple things. My only disappointment is she’s not nearly as mischievous and troublesome as I hoped. The mystery on the train is written well enough that there are clues in place that gives the reader a chance to try to solve the mystery with Cora (or before her). Davey takes the time to update the gadgets and methods of solving mysteries to fit the 21st century with Cora’s use of her cell phone etc. (I don’t want to give too much away!) without taking away too much of the good old traditional sleuthing.

Overall, it was a cute and enjoyable book. For me personally I think if I was the age of the actual target demographic (middle-school years), I’d probably would have enjoyed it a little more than I did. I think it’s a great book for the new generation of younger readers so here’s hoping that the rest of the Cora Flash series only gets better from here on out.

*{Advance copy provided by novelpublicity.com's Tour Blog. Original review and more information can be found at Bookmunchies.com}
Profile Image for Emily  M Genther.
49 reviews9 followers
August 8, 2012
I signed on for this tour because I was seeking out new reading material for my eight-year-old niece. I decided to read through the book before handing it over to make sure it's appropriate reading material for her.

I was pleased to find that Cora Flash is a great fit for it's target audience.

The language is appropriate and civil. There isn't a parent (or pseudo-parent in my case) out there that needs their child learning more curse words and derogatory terms. They reach a certain age when it seems they're auto-populating such things. It's nice to see something geared toward children that strong character interaction and even conflict without going overboard. Kudos!

The action in the story is relevant and clean. I hate it when thing aimed towards kids degrade their intelligence with bathroom humor and violence. This book acknowledges the intelligence of and challenges it's target audience.

The pacing is appropriate for mid-grade. Things don't happen "boom-bang and it's done" like we all have the attention span of a guppy. At the time, the story and plot keep a fluid motion. The chapters rise and fall the way that any good fiction should.

The characters are likable. Cora is fun character and the kind of girl most everyone would like as friend. In addition, the other people she meets on the train are developed and have personality that can be related too. Not everyone is super nice and sharing, but they're realistic and embody various aspects of social roles.

Cora flash for me was a bit of Nancy Drew meets The Orient Express, except with thievery instead of murder. Also, Cora isn't as seasoned a sleuth as Nancy, but it is her first novel. Overall, I'd say it's one to read with the kidlets.
Profile Image for KyBunnies.
1,207 reviews9 followers
August 12, 2012
This was an amazing great read. Perfect book for a child to read. The editing and plot makes it interesting to help create a child’s imagination. This book would help a child to know that no matter what they can achieve anything, they just need to think and use there mind to figure something out.

Cora, is an eleven year old on a train ride to visit her uncle at Topaz Mountain. During the trip a priceless diamond is stolen. The culprit is someone that is hard to figure out until the end.

After reading this book I have thought of several games that could be played to help a child be more creative and also be used as a learning process. As parents we are always looking for fun and creative ideas to play with our child and help them grow. Read the book along with your child. Then over the weekend create your own mystery and help the child figure out the culprit.

This book may be a fiction read but provides a perfect example with characters to help in the game. During a birthday party would make an excellent game for all the kids invited. Allow the birthday child to be the main character, with a few adults to fill in with all the children invited to play parts.

Tommy has wrote a wonderful boo that will help all children in there reading/learning process. I am going to send copies of this book to my niece’s school library. This will be a great additional. I am looking forward to the next Cora Flash book in this series.

Thanks for a great read Tommy.
Profile Image for Barbara Ann.
Author 20 books179 followers
May 24, 2015
Cora is a spunky preteen who is traveling alone for the first time on a overnight train from the city to Topaz Mountain to spend some time in the country with her Uncle Andre. She meets a colorful cast of characters including a single woman, Mrs. Bronwyn, and her dog, Calvin. Almost immediately she notices a man named Mr. Sloane, who is being overprotective of a silver briefcase that he does not let out of his sight. It turns out that he has good reason for that because Mr. Sloane is carrying a valuable gemstone. The stone disappears from his sleeping car; Cora, a honeymoon couple, Mrs. Bronwyn, a college student, and the railroad porter will all be suspects interrogated by an undercover detective on the train.

The inspector is determined to solve the mystery by interrogation, but Cora has a few plans of her own. Will they be able to unravel the mystery to find out the identify of the thief? Cora proves her cleverness and keeps her cool. All the action takes place in less than two hundred pages before the passengers disembark from the train. Certainly this is a first ride that Cora will long remember and the beginning of her interest in solving many mysteries to follow.

Great story for tweens. It has the elements of a good mystery, colorful characters, and a respectful, intelligent strong female role model. This is a quick, fast moving read that will appeal to reluctant readers. Recommended highly for boys and girls eight years up and older.
Profile Image for Melissa Storm.
Author 139 books3,781 followers
August 25, 2012
If an author’s done his job right, sometimes the line between the story and the character is very blurry. In the case of Ms. Cora Flash, I’d venture to say it’s invisible!

To that end, I’d like to review the character herself to show you just how awesome this book series is…

Cora Flash is awesome, because:

1. At just 11 years old, she’s already a world-class detective
2. From ice cream cones to root beer floats to a giant bag of candy, the girl’s got a sweet tooth
3. She sees the good in everyone but doesn’t let it blind her
4. She gets her social media on–why wouldn’t you use Facebook to help solve a crime, duh!
5. Like a true tween, she both loves her mom and is inconvenienced by her
6. She makes friends easily wherever she goes
7. She loves her dog but thinks picking up his poop is gross–it is gross
8. She’s fluent in text speak
9. She believes in ghosts but is always willing to consider alternative explanations
10. She uses her fear as motivation rather than an obstacle

You’re totally feeling the awesomeness now, aren’t you? Why wouldn’t you want to introduce your young readers to such a feisty, intelligent, and well-rounded individual as Ms. Cora? Go ahead, find a reason–I dare ya!
Profile Image for Crystal ✬ Lost in Storyland.
986 reviews195 followers
August 11, 2012
This is a really cheesy read. The characters talk really politely, and Cora is quickly accepted and treated like one of the adults. The smiles are cheesy, and the yelling and angriness that erupts after the diamond is found missing is really cheesy. Some of the things that take place are also borderline ubelievable. However, it all works out for this novel. As Cora mentions, trains remind you of the old movies where exciting, incredible things take place on trains, and the whole cheesiness lends to this aspect. Cora is an intelligent girl. She takes things into her own hands by attempting to solve the mystery of the missing diamond by herself, though there is an inspector working on the case.

Overall, this was a fun read. Cora Flash is a younger version of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and much more mischievous. Young readers will enjoy puzzling out the mystery of the missing Diamond of Madagascar along with her.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog Imaginary Reads.
Imaginary Reads
Profile Image for Ruth Hill.
1,115 reviews637 followers
August 23, 2012
Ready for a young adult, clean mystery that is suitable for your kids? This is definitely the book for you! This is an easy-to-read book written in a simple style, but it will keep your interest until the end. The main character is an 11-year-old named Cora Flash, and she will definitely resonate with the young adults and kids who read this book.

The book is full of fun characters and even a dog. Even the venue of the book will entice kids because I would doubt that most of this generation have been on a train. I know my daughter and I haven't, and there is no better place for a mystery than a train. It evokes visions of romance, and it hearkens back the the times of Agatha Christie and others of that time period.

While some parts of the stories seem a little "wooden" and realistic, bear in mind that this is a young adult book. It is not an adult mystery. It is a delightful read, and I look forward to giving it to my daughter to read. I figured out the mystery, but it is written in such a way that it will keep you guessing and second-guessing yourself! All in all, it is a great young adult mystery.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
Profile Image for Kimberly.
192 reviews34 followers
August 8, 2012
A cute idea, Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar is a cross between Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown. The biggest difference for me was that Cora, unlike Nancy Drew, is close in age to the intended audience making it even easier for the readers to connect with her even as they’re scrambling to try and solve the mystery before her. (It’s too much fun to let the detectives solve the mysteries!)

Using the old train heist mystery as the setting, Davies sets up a fun mystery that’ll keep the readers on the edge of their seats. Though there are moments when Cora’s voice doesn’t match the age she’s supposed to be, it doesn’t make this any less of a fun mystery. Definitely a new mystery for the younger generations, it was surprising for an old timer like me to see a youngster, a mere 11 year old with a cell phone when I’m used to the mysteries of old where such things didn’t exist or at least not commonly. (Clearly a sign that I need more middle-grade mysteries in my life.)

Review copy received as part of Novel Publicity's Cora Flash blog tour. For this review and others, check out Book Munchies.
Profile Image for Lydia.
45 reviews11 followers
August 14, 2012
Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar is the adorable, middle-grade tale that will have you reminisce of the days when you curled up with your favorite Nancy Drew and a flashlight.

While on her first train trip by herself to visit her Uncle Andre, Cora meets a cast of characters, and a cute little dog by the name of Calvin, that band together to solve the mystery of the stolen Diamond of Madagascar.

This book was such a delight to read an reminded me so much of the books that I read when I was little. It reminded me a lot of the old 1940s train sagas that were so amazing which I think was Daveys' point because he does mention that Cora likes those kind of movies as well.

If you have a kid who is in to really great, cute adventure books, boy or girl, this is a great pick. It's even great if you're like me and want a great read that throws back to the age of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys!
Profile Image for Gina Hott.
700 reviews69 followers
February 19, 2016
Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar is an amazing book!
I think it’s an adorable mystery that many – boys and girls of all ages – will find intriguing and fun. I love the characters and the plot. I especially loved how Cora walked us through the train. Her experiences and descriptions are spellbinding plus she gives us a great setting for the mystery to come and details the many different aspects of riding a train that most will never experience. The plot was terrific, even though I suspected ‘who done it’ I wasn’t positive because it was so well played.

This book is appropriate for all ages but the reading level is probably about 8 and up.

Author: Tommy Davey
Source: Purchased on September 27, 2014 (for my daughter…)
Publisher & Date: February 3rd 2012 by Brown PAW Press
Genre: Middle-Grade Mystery
ISBN: 1469933233 (9781469933238)
Pages: 183
Grade: A+
Ages: 8+
Series: Cora Flash, 1
Profile Image for Natverse.
479 reviews60 followers
July 17, 2012
A little bit of Penny, from Inspector Gadget, combined with a younger Nancy Drew; Cora is a precocious 11 year-old girl with a knack for solving crime.

This was a fun, straightforward read for kids 8+. It reads very much like vintage kids' mystery, with a modern kick, even including her little dog sidekick, Calvin (tiny, but smarter than he seems for a dog).

I look forward to reading about the rest of her clever, mock-Agatha Christie adventures.
Profile Image for Brenda E Stephens.
39 reviews1 follower
April 29, 2016
Great beginning, great middle and a surprising really funny end.

The characters draw you in from the first paragraph. Once you think you solved the puzzle, think again! I couldn't put it down til I read the preview of the next book so be prepared to get caught up in the story line. Well written and wittily told.
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