From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7-When her Uncle Jake asks her to fill in for a week as a housekeeper on the ranch he converted from her grandparents' homestead in Sedona, AZ, Haley hesitantly agrees. She arrives to find one of the cabins on fire, and it soon looks like arson. All of the guests are suspects. Ostensibly, Aquanetta Real and her son, Zach, are staying there so she can perform in a folk concert, but then Haley learns that the woman's deceased husband was Jake's childhood friend. Bill and Martha Craig were friends of Haley's grandparents and frequent visitors who tried to buy the ranch before the area became prosperous. Their 20-year-old granddaughter, Vivica Dove, spouts New Age lingo about vortexes and crystals. The plot, which includes Jake's financial troubles, an old miner's map, spooked horses, a computer virus, and threatening postcards, overshadows character development. Children familiar with the area might find the setting interesting; others will prefer the more fully rounded characters of Wendelin Van Draanen's "Sammy Keyes" mysteries (Knopf) and Betsy Byars's "Herculeah Jones" series (Viking).--Tina Zubak, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA
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Gr. 5-8. Cleaning cabins and washing dishes at her uncle Jake's new Arizona bed-and-breakfast ranch is not what 12-year-old Haley had in mind for summer vacation. On the night of her arrival at the ranch, Haley witnesses one of the cabins going up in flames. Uncle Jake attributes the fire to bad luck, but Haley suspects foul play, and her suspicions prove correct when more mysterious fires break out. Haley soon finds herself tracking down an arsonist, methodically sorting through clues and eliminating suspects with the assistance of another young sleuth whom she befriends. The finally discovered culprit is a surprise. There's enough intrigue and suspense here to keep readers engaged and guessing until the end, and Haley is a plucky, doggedly determined sleuth who will appeal to young mystery fans. Ed SullivanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved