Hello my loves!
How are we this week? Properly isolated, I hope?
As the fantastic Rickey Thompson says, I hope we are all STAYING. THE F***. INDOORS (don’t watch that link with kids around!). Where possible, obviously. In all seriousness people, keep safe. And to all the essential workers out there: thank you.
Now, in terms of today’s book review: a lovely middle grade detective story by new author Sherrill Joseph. This little gem was published mid-February (yes, it is a review book. Yes, I am late. No, I didn’t have time to do it before now: have you seen the state of the world?!), and I have been sleeping on it, honestly.
Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets is the first book in a series about four pre-teen detectives: twins Lanny and Lexi and their best friends, Moki and Rani. Now, I did find the first third or so of the book pretty heavily descriptive: those sections weren’t quite as elegant and flowing as the rest of the book, but I also realize they serve a very specific purpose. I also realize that this book was actually written for beings less than half my age (dear sweet Loki, what a thought), so I can’t fault descriptive scene-setting in that context.
The characters themselves are really interesting: they’ve been set up with very specific likes and dislikes, they’re from different cultures (while Lanny and Lexi are, presumably, Caucasian American, Rani is Indian and Moki is Hawaiian), and their personalities fit together well in group settings. The book does are really good job at setting up the town they live in, the characters, and even the twins’ parents’ jobs (world traveling scholars) for further adventures, which I genuinely look forward to reading. There are also explicit references to Sherlock Holmes in the book, as the twins’ detective hero, and you all know how much I love a Sherlock-adjacent tale.
The mystery itself is a good one – someone in the actual age bracket for a middle grade mystery would love it, and the themes of Ancient Egyptian history, mythology, and culture woven into it is educational as well as interesting. I remember being absolutely fascinated by Ancient Egypt as a child, so this book would have been absolutely bang on for a curious kid like myself. I’m still a curious kid, if we’re being honest. The story has some exciting action-adventure bits, and a couple of young crushes – though that last is more of a castaway paragraph or two rather than an actual functioning part of the story, which brings me great joy, I don’t think you even realize. More importantly (and despite a little repetitive writing), the mystery is wrapped up very nicely at the end: no stone unturned, no thread un-pulled.
I really, really enjoyed this book – I’m well pleased I was approved to review it, and I truly look forward to both being able to get this in hard copy, and reading the next books in the Botanic Hills Detectives series!
Well worth a read, people. Well worth a read.
Disclaimer: An electronic copy of this book was provided to be for review by Netgalley. As you should all know by now, the provenance of a title has absolutely no bearing on my opinion of its contents.
Image credits: from the publisher page.