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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost by Janice Spina is a delightful mystery geared toward children. Twins Derek and Davey are back to take on their next case. Cousins Abby and Holly approach the brothers to seek out the kind of help that only the two junior detectives can provide. They’ve been experiencing some strange happenings at home that are suspected to be the work of a mischievous ghost. Obviously, the twins quickly offer their help. As they search for clues, they’re drawn into the tragic family history of a sad ghost that needs their help.
Janice Spina aims the story at young readers with an easy to read style and a plot filled with surprises, heart, and lots of fun that gives children a mystery to delve into; a mystery that connects to history, friendship, and family. The brothers are ordinary kids with two distinct personalities and a genuine bond of siblings who pester each other and act as kids do. The two have a strong relationship as twins and partners who completely support each other. The twin telepathy (TT) is a fun element in the story as the two use it to communicate so no one else will know what they’re saying. The TT is a constant source of communication between them that Spina uses as a source of humor and as an important tool in working out the clues. The mystery has a paranormal element woven throughout the case as it focuses on a ghostly encounter while they work to solve the mystery of the ghost’s life in order to help it.
School plays a part in their lives with homework, teachers, and daily school life worked into the background, which gives the lives of the two young detectives an authentic feeling while also helping to set them up as ordinary kids who just happen to be detectives that solve cases and investigate ghosts. Their family is super supportive of their investigating with their Aunt Gigi being a constant accomplice in their cases. The ghost is an emotional part of the story as her tragic backstory and family history are slowly uncovered and used with the intention to hopefully help her gain closure. Each chapter has an illustration that gives a hint at a key element important to the chapter. The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost is a charming mystery for kids with ghosts, twin antics, and history woven into the plot and a tone in the vein of Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and Trixie Belden.