Do you believe in ghosts? Cora doesn't, but when she visits her Uncle Andre at his old hotel on Topaz Mountain, a sudden series of strange events makes her wonder. With many people thinking that ghosts are responsible, Cora and Calvin investigate to find out what is really going on! This is the second book in the 'Cora Flash' series.
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.
A Solid Mystery, Just Right for the 9 -12 Year Old Reader,
Here's the terrible "test of three" for late elementary/early middle grade mysteries - do we like the hero/heroine main character; is there a fair and plausible mystery that observes reasonable mystery conventions; is the quality of the writing - grammar, syntax, and so on and the appeal of the writing - dialogue, descriptions, narrative flow - of a high level? (Wow, that sentence was a mouthful, and a little on the snotty side.) Well, that's O.K. because I am happy to suggest that this book scores high marks across the board.
Cora is an eleven year old who seems to pop up in the middle of mysteries. In this volume, (number two in the series), Cora is visiting her Uncle at a mountain resort hotel he owns and operates. (In volume one she solved a diamond theft while on the cross-country train taking her to this vacation.) There have been ghost sightings and weird things happening at the Hotel and guests are getting scared away and business is in sharp decline. Cora is on the case. There are a couple of suspects with motive and opportunity, some red herrings, some talk about ghosts, (but this isn't really a ghost story), and a lot of bumping around in the night. The book follows the classic manor house style with everyone gathered together at the end for the big reveal. The whole thing is done with style and it truly observes the most honored mystery conventions. I don't see how you could have a "classic" mystery better tailored to young readers.
Cora as a character is very appealing. She is bright, honest and alert. She is polite and curious. Pretty much everything she says or does seems age appropriate so she should be a relatable heroine for a younger reader. She is also friendly, generous and cheerful and completely free of pre-teen angst or drama. She's way too young for the Nancy Drew comparison in the book description, but easily fits into the Enid Blyton Famous Five category. Actually, I had a sort of late Shirley Temple kind of vibe as I read the book. She's not overwritten and the author avoids cutesy bits in favor of sunny and just pleasant bits, which I tend to like more.
The writing is of high quality. Dialogue is effective, descriptions are to the point, the story is clear, scenes are well established. There is little attention devoted to character development or mood, but that's not really the point in this type of mystery. There is the occasional typo or error, but well below the frequency that's par for the Kindle course. Sentences are clear and direct, but more advanced than just short declaratory sentences. I don't pretend to be expert in these things but it seems that the book would offer a fair and satisfying reading experience for a younger reader.
So, this seems like a solid, entertaining and well crafted early reader mystery that offers the bonus of an engaging heroine and additional volumes available for fans. Certainly worth a close look.
Please note that I found this book while browsing Amazon Kindle freebies. I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
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!