The Seven Sleuths Club

by Carol Norton.

The title is misleading (and the 1940s dust jacket on my copy even more so!) but the book isn't bad -- it just isn't much of a mystery. The "Seven Sleuths Club" started life as the "Spread Sunshine Club" organized by the day students at a girls' school. They change their name because they intend to find a mystery to solve. Unfortunately, the best they can do (their parents have such restrictive ideas about what their young daughters might tackle!) is to hunt for the secret meeting place of their brothers' counterpart club, the CDCs; and to look for a woman whose estranged family are advertising in a local paper for her. They ultimately succeed in both attempts, but it's by luck, not skill.

Much more interest is attached to the addition of a new girl to their ranks -- a classic case of the city girl who looks down on her small-town surroundings. After a rocky start, Geraldine reforms, becomes a valued member of the group, learns to cook and to sew -- and discovers that she has a mystery right in her own household! Her discovery of the mystery is concurrent with its solving, which is quite believable considering her rather self-centered characterization.

Jo Anne Fatherly

This review first appeared in The Whispered Watchword, the newsletter of The Phantom Friends