Watch out Chicago, there’s a new amateur sleuth in town for this jazz age mystery!
The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill. Blink, 2017. 352 pages.
Reading Level: Young Adult (15 & up)
Piper Sail, independent and privileged, is enjoying her senior year of high school in 1920s Chicago. She is up for anything —unless it includes dogs and/or children. Mostly though, Piper is focused on others’ problems, particularly those of her good friend, Lydia.
When Lydia vanishes, Piper is not content to remain passive. She throws herself into helping with the investigation. One of the detectives on the case, conveniently young and handsome, accepts her help.
Spoiled, hot-headed, feisty, and impetuous, Piper is nonetheless a rather likable character, especially as she encounters her fears and grows. Investigations take Piper from the mansions of Astor street to the underbelly of Chicago. A true jazz age mystery, she encounters Speakeasies, the Mafia, prohibition, and baseball.
Piper’s personality and the book’s ending hint at more adventures. While the plot is historically on the implausible side, young adults can enjoy a suspenseful mystery that is thoroughly engaging without a hint of language or sex. And that, in the 21st century, is almost more unlikely than a Piper Sail in the 20th century.
Cautions: (Intense situations: Piper witnesses her friend’s seizure which involves blood and loss of bodily functions, the plot revolves around kidnapping.) Sensuality (infidelity in a minor character is uncovered)
Overall Rating: 4 (out of 5)
- Worldview/moral value: 4
- Artistic value: 3.5