Title: Frankie Dupont and The Science Fair Sabotage
Author: Julie Anne Grasso
Release Date: May 2015
Length: 134 pages
Series?: Frankie Dupont Mysteries #3
Genre: Children’s, Mystery
Frankie Dupont is less than impressed when he has to attend the Sustainable Science Fair with Kat and Amy. Upon his arrival, he learns that Amy’s brothers have had their robotics chip stolen. Keen to recover the chip, Frankie questions the kids in the competition, but everyone seems to have a motive. When baffling clues start rolling in via “Snap-Goss” instant messages, Frankie realises it will take all of his detective muscles to solve this case. An illustrated mystery for ages 8-12.
***** Review *****
There are a wealth of inventors and science geeks convening in town, more specifically at Enderby Manor, which Frankie is very familiar with. For the kids the prize is a whopping $300 and tickets to the science camp. For the adults, who have come from all over, the prize is a $50,000 grant to begin production on their invention. The bar is set high and the ante is up. Everyone has a motive for murder and misconduct – of a science fair project. Frankie, paired up with his dog Sherlock, cousin Kat, and friend Amy, must solve the mysterious disappearance of Angus and Archie’s robot microchip so they will not be disqualified. It’s not easy when the twins have played semi-serious pranks
Sherlock – Frankie’s dog; his investigative pal
Kat – Frankie’s cousin; friend’s with Amy; on Frankie’s investigative team
Amy Appleby – Kat’s friend; Angus & Archie’s sister; also part of Frankie’s investigative team
Angus & Archie – Amy’s younger twin brothers who are entering their robot in the science fair; their project has been sabotaged and their microchip stolen
Colonel Forsythe – Enderby Manor concierge; retired Special Forces
Ms. Chestnut – a teacher; in charge of the science fair
Mr. Mulberry – a teacher; in charge of the science fair
- Rodney Butterworth – fellow contestant with a soda can violin with a string-tuning security device; broke up the fight between Angus & Archie, who mistuned his violin at a recital
- Heather Chapman – fellow contestant with a balloon recycling service that turns balloon remnants into Recyc-bling jewelry; had karate boards glued together by the twins at a tournament
- Joseph Fishburne – fellow contestant with some magician’s tricks up his sleeve and a stroke-ometer for swimming ; did not make it onto the swim squad due to the twins disrupting his time clock at swim trials
- Harrison Danbury – fellow contestant with edible “Legos” made from Stevia plants
- Nakano Riku – fellow contestant with cloned salmon, turned blue thanks to the twins
“You’re always going on about fashion and karate, and Jason Buber, that kid that sings as though he has two X chromosomes.” He chuckled at his own joke.
The Highs and Lows
- + Parodies. Snap-Gross…Jason Buber…So perfectly placed. I know what Julie Ann thinks of these two things…
- + Enderby Manor. A return to a previous case site, one that Frankie and Kat are well familiar with. This also brings back a host of characters from the first book (at least those who are still employed at the manor).
- + Double Trouble. The twins, Angus and Archie, are not always on the same page, adding to or creating more conflict, despite their dire circumstances. They have also sprung spoofs on all of their fellow science fair competitors, making it hard to eliminate motives.
- – Amy. Each time another of the twins’ pranks were revealed, Amy acted aghast that her younger brothers would behave so. Anyone who has siblings knows exactly how their siblings behave, both at home and in public, and this should not have been a recurring shock each time a prank was uncovered. It just didn’t ring true to the authenticity of their familial relationship.
- – Plot Development. I feel this installment was not fully developed in terms of plot. It felt like the plot was extremely simple for a mystery, leaving very little anticipation to be built up in the story arc. Judging by the writing, I would expect this to be the first book in the series, not the third.
The twins are hilarious. Each time a new “suspect” reveals how the twins have sabotaged them in some way, they always enthusiastically scream that the new suspect is the thief. At one point, one of the twins even tries to high five a competitor who said the twins’ attempt to ruin their project actually helped the project along. They think everything is fun and games until they are wronged in some way, but they are also very good-natured about things at the same time. It’s an odd mix, and since they seem so…removed (is that the right word?) it makes things even funnier.
Recommendation – Buy, Borrow or Skip?
This installment did not have me as excited as the previous two, so for this reason I recommend borrowing.
***** About the Author *****
With a background in paediatric nursing, Julie Anne Grasso spent many years literally wrapping children in cotton wool. Every day she witnessed courage and resilience from the tiny people she cared for, which inspired her to write stories to entertain them. A science fiction nerd (she even owns a TARDIS), cupcake enthusiast and lover of all things mystery, she lives in Melbourne with her husband Danny and their little girl Giselle. Most days she can be found sipping chai tea and dreaming up wonderful worlds that often involve consumption of cupcakes.