Following up the success of her first Crypto-Capers children's mystery, The Case of the Missing Sock--which we reviewed here--Renee Hand and the Crypto-Capers return for another adventure in The Case of Red Rock Canyon.
In Book 2, Max, Mia, and Granny Holmes are in Las Vegas, Nevada while computer genuis Morris, who continues to develop all types of techno gadgets, stays safely in touch with them from their house on Baker Street in London.
When a one-of-a-kind necklace goes missing from a theater production, the Crypto-Capers are hired by the producer to find it--never realizing that their very lives could be in danger.
Hand kicks it up for readers a notch in The Case of Red Rock Canyon. While a key was provided for the cryptograms in Book 1, there is no key included in Book 2. The clues for how to solve the cryptograms come from the story. In addition, while the level of danger in The Case of the Missing Sock is fairly low, one of the Crypto-Capers is kidnapped in this new one, and the remaining two have to solve the crime and find their missing partner.
Which brings me to my one tiny nitpick about the book. Keeping in mind that Morris, the technology guru, has a way to monitor the location of and vital signs for the missing Crypto-Caper, there doesn't seem to be a sense of urgency on the part of the others to find their missing partner. They go out to eat and partake in small talk about how expensive their lunch was, but until the last few chapters of the book, they don't seem to be all that concerned about their partner's fate.
That aside, the first two books indicate that this is going to an excellent series that will attract all types of children: boys, girls, puzzle solvers, mystery lovers, and even reluctant readers.
Again Hand makes the wise choice of dropping readers right into the action from the very first page, engaging the reader right out of the gate. It appears that the cases the Crypto-Capers must solve will grow in complexity throughout the series, continuing to challenge your young reader.
While you definitely don't need to purchase The Case of the Missing Sock to enjoy The Case of Red Rock Canyon, I believe young readers will want to follow the Crypto-Capers from the very beginning because once they start, they'll never be able to stop.
Title: The Crypto-Capers in The Case of Red Rock Canyon Author: Renee Hand Publisher: North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc. ISBN-10: 0-87839-309-9 ISBN-13: 978-0-87839-309-I SRP: $12.95 (U.S.)