Life’s been hard for 12-year-old Randi Rhodes since her mom died a year ago. But Randi—aspiring detective and tae kwon do black belt—finds distraction and satisfaction by anonymously solving crimes in her Brooklyn neighborhood, despite the fact her famed mystery writer dad has retreated into himself and stopped writing. When they relocate to Deer Creek, Tennessee, Randi worries she is done with detective work, but she spies opportunity when a 200-year-old time capsule, possibly containing treasure that would prevent the town’s bankruptcy, disappears during the Founder’s Day Festival. She partners with and befriends D.C. and Pudge, two other newcomers, to find the capsule and save the town. Oscar winner Spencer’s debut features some familiar characters and plot conventions—haunted cabins, secret tunnels, corrupt politicians—but overall, is an entertaining, suspenseful read. Randi’s grief over her mother, and desire for her father’s attention, add a layer of vulnerability to her appealing character. An appendix includes activities from taking footprint casts to recipes for referenced foods. Grades 4-6. --Shelle Rosenfeld
About the Author
A veteran character actress and one of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents, Octavia Spencer has become a familiar fixture on both television and silver screen. Her critically acclaimed performance as Minny in the DreamWorks feature film The Help
won her a 2012 Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, a SAG Award, and a Broadcast Film Critics’ Choice Award, among countless other honors. Octavia is a native of Montgomery, Alabama, and holds a BS in Liberal Arts from Auburn University. She lives in Los Angeles. Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit
was her first novel.