A Matter of Justice by Steve Alcorn
Publisher: Mundania Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4.5 Suns
Review by Snapdragon
Dani Deucer is a precocious twelve-year-old girl who wants to be a detective. She and her sister Stephanie are spending the summer in Three Rivers, California when Dani meets hobo Mott Simon. At first Dani is afraid of Mott because he’s different – he spends most of his time digging up the town’s flowerbeds! But when Mott is accused of murder Dani sets out to prove that sometimes first impressions can be wrong.
Like Harper Lee’s classic To Kill A Mockingbird, A Matter of Justice is a young girl’s exploration of what it means to be different. It’s also an exciting mystery that will keep readers guessing to the last page.
Book lover Dani can’t help but be a little distracted by the weirdo adult Mott Simon, when he happens to cross her path. She compared him to a river rat and thought he smell like peat moss, and every once in a while, she worried he might not really be a very nice man. Still, she hadn’t been brought up to make fun of people. And she had bigger worries, like what on earth will she do when she actually finishes every worthwhile read in the tiny library? If Dani’s summer sounds a little boring to you, imagine how she feels about living it.
Dani is twelve but she has a strong sense of justice. When Mott lands in trouble, she’s sharp enough to know there’s something fishy about the accusation–even if Mott’s behavior used to “give her the willies.” Let’s face it, and old hobo that likes to dig up flowers-–he’s an easy target for somebody. Dani realizes if she doesn’t help him, no one else will. More, his predicament is an opportunity; an opportunity for Dani to practice her best Nancy Drew type detecting, and figure out what really happened. She has a whole lot of curiosity to focus on something, and figuring out what really happened sure beats following chipmunks around.
Dani has to take on adults and along the way accept a little unexpected help from sister Stephanie. All together, summer in the California town of Three Rivers turns into a real who-dunit for Dani. The mystery takes a while to build into action, but Dani is so amusing, she carries the plot along until stuff happens.
I love the Three Rivers descriptions, from the little town and library to the mountain scenes. Dani and her family are such regular people, they could be anyone’s family. Stephanie is the oh-so typical sister, but still sometimes surprising. Sudden and unpredictable things happen, like a near hit-and-run accident. We know something more is going on in Three Rivers than meets the eye.
Fun and engaging from start to finish, you won’t be able to put down Alcorn’s A Matter of Justice.