THE PESKI KIDS: THE MYSTERY OF THE SQUASHED COCKROACH
R.A. Spratt, Puffin, $16.99
This is a yarn to read aloud around the campfire, a crowd-pleaser. It blasts off with a frumpish mum set upon by airport security — oh, that poor woman. But not a bit of it — she’s up to no good. She goes to prison. Her three children are delivered to their dad, a meek man hiding out in a country town. The youngest child has been treated with psychotherapy, hypnosis and prescription drugs, and now doctors have edged away and pushed a defenceless dog into the mix. The youngsters operate as a detective team helped by a sultry young miss who, luckily, can pilot a helicopter. This is Spratt’s seventeenth page-turner — plenty more where this came from.