I snagged this eBook on BookBub a few months ago, and only found the time to read it recently. I found this one browsing through the Middle Grade section, and it’s one of the few mystery books that wasn’t begging to be compared to Nancy Drew. But if we are going to compare the two, Shirley Link is like Nancy Drew’s cooler cousin.
There are at least two mysteries in this eBook – the first, which I read, is the titular mystery story. “The Safe Case” is in a setting familiar to many readers: middle school. In this case (no pun intended), a safe containing a large sum of money is robbed – the safe itself included – and the principal is being held accountable by the school board. It’s up to Shirley to prove his innocence … even if it doesn’t help her academic standing. The mystery-solving process is fast-paced and filled with age-appropriate wit and humor.
Shirley and her friends are funny, likeable characters. I like that the author isn’t trying to make them seem super-mature just because they’re in the magical kingdom of middle school. Even eighth graders can be sassy, mischievous, and a little immature at times. If I were still a middle schooler, I’d find these characters quite relatable.
Shirley’s deductive reasoning is definitely an interesting element to her character. It’s something akin to Sherlock Holmes’ abilities, possessed by an eighth grade girl. It’s amazing how many details she picks up, and most entertaining when she explains it all to everyone else. And best of all, her explanations make sense. No supernatural abilities, no magic, just logic. I like that!
In her narrative, Shirley does frequently reference other cases, but not always by any specific titles. From the way she recounts them, I do hope they’ve all been chronicled in other Shirley Link books – if they are, I’m dying to read them! In short, I think Shirley Link and the Safe Case is a cute, colorful introduction to what seems like an awesome middle-grade girl detective series.