Follow the clues as Kayla and her friends try to figure out who stole the jeweled tiara
before they dance The Nutcracker. Kayla loves to be a detective almost as much as she
loves to dance and when the star of the balletís tiara is stolen, she gets to combine her talents.
When she goes to ballet class, she and her friend, Vicki, hunt for clues and, as the activities of
the Christmas season commence, she enlists the advice of her family and friends to solve the
mystery. But, being a detective on the case is long, hard work. Should she continue to pursue
the case, even if her dancing suffers?
I was disappointed by this book. I have loved ballet and detective stories ever since I was
the character Kaylaís age and I had hoped to enjoy this trip back into my long ago childhood.
Things are not always as we hope. While the plot was action-packed, with dance, mystery, and more
activities than three middle schoolers could complete in a two months, the story fell flat.
The reason lies in the actual writing of the book. The sentences are rather short, choppy,
and blunt. To my mind they hinder the flow of the story and the reader ends up distracted by the
phrasing rather than focused on the tale. While another problem I had with the writing was that
the conversation between the kids is rather limited.
The actual plot is not at all bad; it gives the characters so much adventure and so many fun
trips that any kid will want to join in. I just think the problems I saw with the writing
might make some of them quit reading before the storytelling has a chance to really capture them.
Their loss, but given the sometimes unforgiving spirit of the pre-teen readers...