Zanna Snow is excited when her grandmother invites her to visit Boston. She barely knows her grandmother, but this gives her a chance to spend more time with her uncle Bruce, the famous detective, and with her cousin Will. It’s not long before Zanna catches wind of another mystery and sets out to solve it. Meanwhile, Grandmother has enrolled her in a prestigious academy for young ladies, where one of her classmates seems determined to make her life miserable. On top of all that, Zanna is being followed around town by a mysterious old man.
The Mastermind Plot is the second in Angie Frazier’s SUZANNA SNOW mystery series for middle-grade readers, set just after the turn of the 20th century and starring a resourceful young female detective. The case this time involves a series of arson fires that may be a cover-up for something else. The mystery is twisty and suspenseful. This book is a little darker than The Midnight Tunnel; the stakes are higher in terms of potential bodily harm to characters, and long-hidden secrets about Zanna’s own family come to light.
The characters in The Mastermind Plot are vividly drawn. Zanna is still a delightful heroine, and her uncle Bruce is still a pompous git. I also want to make special mention of Zanna’s classmate Adele, who may turn out to be a rival, or maybe a friend instead. I’ve read too many books recently — in all age groups — where the heroine was the only female character allowed to be awesome, as though giving her a peer would diminish her. Kudos to Frazier for not doing that. Other characters have great complexities that would spoil the story if I explained them, but which make The Mastermind Plot rich with twists and hidden motives.
The Mastermind Plot is a fun book. I read it in one sitting and would recommend it to young readers who like mysteries.
Suzanna Snow Mysteries — (2011-2012) Ages 9-12. Publisher: A mysterious adventure of self-discovery that reveals shocking secrets! It is 1905 and young Suzanna works at her family’s inn in Loch Harbor, New Brunswick, where she is trained to be a well-mannered hostess and a charming lady. Suzanna has other ideas for her future — she wants to be a detective. When a young guest goes missing on a stormy summer night, Suzanna’s famous detective uncle, and idol, comes to solve the case. But Suzanna learns that not everything is as it seems. With a little help from her friends, can she solve the mystery of the missing girl before her uncle gives up?