Thursday, December 31, 2015

Book Review: Frankie Dupont and the High Seas Heist

Frankie’s fourth adventure, Frankie Dupont and the High Seas Heist, should surprise readers following his exploits because it takes place not on home turf, but on board ship. Frankie is sharing his eleventh birthday with his dad’s fiftieth at Enderby Manor (where else?) when a surprise invitation arrives. A mysterious invitation, accompanied by extraordinarily delicious chocolates, arrives from a Madame Marie Fontaine for Frankie’s dad to investigate a case on board the cruise ship La Fontaine Chocolat. Once they’d scoffed the chocs and read the invite carefully, including the suggestion to bring the family and Sherlock as well for cover, a decision must be made – the ship is leaving shortly. Frankie’s Mum keeps to her arrangement to visit her sister in London, while the foursome to fill the VIP tickets are Frankie, his dad, his cousin Kat and friend Amy (plus Sherlock!).

The plot thickens when, once on board ship, Frankie and his group find out that the invitation, originally for Mr. Dupont, had been altered to include the others, and was actually sent by Madame Fontaine’s granddaughter, Madeleine. Despite this little hiccup, the fact remains that Madame Fontaine’s secret recipe for her fantastic chocolate is under threat. People have been known to steal recipes and it appears that Madame Fontaine is about to be robbed of her chocolate secret by the infamous Emmaline Legrand. This recipe is worth millions. Emmaline and her brother have already stolen several famous chocolate recipes. On board the cruise ship, now sailing to Antarctica, are around twenty well known chocolatiers. Any of them might be the unscrupulous thieves. Frankie and Co. have about a week to discover the identity of the thieves since that is when the ship reaches Antarctica and the unveiling of a chocolate replica of the ship takes place. Much is at stake and can Frankie discover the culprits before it’s too late?

This is certainly a different kind of adventure and taking Frankie out of his comfort zone creates a rather unusual kind of read. Battling sea sickness at first, as well as not having all his best gadgets to hand, Frankie is still able to start piecing together the numerous clues and mystifying details that come to light. The descriptions of the chocolate are mouth-watering and will have young readers wishing they could be on board with Frankie. Of course there are interesting little snippets of real science interspersed that inform young readers and add to advancing the plot. Frankie’s brain is working on full speed ahead as, using proper detective techniques, he manages to tie up the loose ends and also solve a secondary mystery to do with their new friend Madeleine. A wonderful action scene forms the climax and kids will love how amazingly all the clues fall into place and the mystery is solved. Another fantastic read for budding detectives and junior sleuths from Julie Anne Grasso.

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