Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 9th 2016 by Roaring Brook Press
Source: Raincoast Books
You may remember Friday Barnes from when I gushed about her in the review of her first book. If not, let me refresh your memory.
Friday Barnes is a girl detective who detected her way to a super elite boarding school when she won the reward money for figuring out who stole a diamond from a bank vault. Unfortunately she didn’t count on the son of the thief attending the same elite school as her. So she ends up with an arch nemesis, Ian Wainscott, who is unfairly good looking and who, in her words, “has a disconcerting effect on her endocrine system.”
She also has her first best-friend, Melanie, who is an excellent observe and picks up on the social cues that Friday would see if they were the size of an elephant dancing in front of her. Anyway, when the book opens, Friday is being arrested by some inordinately dim police-people who accuse her for trying to grow/create ricin in her hockey stick/something like that. They haul her off to the police station where Friday does not just prove her innocence and reveal the accusations to be unjust but she also detects her way into freeing a fellow prisoner picked up for stealing something he didn’t.
All in all, a good day’s work for Friday. She returns to school to find that the Headmaster wants to speak to her. Someone’s digging holes all over the school grounds and he wants her to figure out who and why. She also finds out that there is a new boy at school and to Melanie’s glee, the new boy, Christopher, seems to be intensely interested in Friday. Ian finds his feathers ruffled for the first time, not that this makes him any nicer to Friday. Not that Friday cares. Melanie though is all but ready for popcorn in this odd triangle.
Friday Barnes Under Suspicion was just as fast and funny as the first one in the series. I did think that Friday could have solved the case quicker than she did or maybe I missed the smaller mysteries that were present in the first one. I just think there were some obvious questions that were not asked in the course of the narrative and that I as an adult reader would have liked answers to.
Friday and the Headmaster’s relationship remained one of the more amusing ones in the series. I love how exasperated he gets with her but I like to think that underneath the bluster, he is fond of Friday and her socially awkward self. Additionally, I do love how Friday and Melanie complement each other. They’re both extremely weird (in good ways) and instead of the focus being on one special snowflake (as is usually the case) here you have two interesting individuals who are friends.
What also makes this novel a success for me is Friday and the way Friday talks. Her quick wit and her utter cluelessness about people also make this series one of my favourites.
“Did you steal my spit?” demanded Friday.
“has she lost her marbles?” Ian asked Melanie.
“She doesn’t play marbles,” said Melanie. “At least, I’ve never noticed that she does.”
“You put my spit on that sting,” accused Friday.
“I wish I had,” said Ian, “if I had known it would make you this angry.”
“Friday!” Christopher called out from the other side of the hall.
Friday and Melanie turned.
“It’s your other boyfriend,” said Melanie. “it really must be exhausting for you to be in a love triangle.”
“I’m not in a love triangle, or even a love straight line,” protested Friday.
For madness like this and more, I recommend you read Friday Barnes.