Iris Anderson’s father survived Pearl Harbor; he’s missing a leg, but his pride is fully intact. Refusing help from his brother, a private investigator like himself, he tries to revive his pre-war business, but it’s hard to keep a low profile on New York stakeouts with a prosthetic leg. Fifteen-year-old Iris is more than willing to help, and she even manages to snap incriminating photos of a cheating wife for one of Pop’s cases, but he wants to keep her far from his often risky and sordid work. Iris, however, has the inside track on one particular case that involves a boy who has gone missing from her public high school, and without her father’s knowledge she is soon sneaking out to nightclubs, consulting with students from her former private school, and unearthing some increasingly damning evidence against girls she once considered good friends. Iris’ story has considerable crossover appeal, enticing both mystery lovers and historical fiction fans, with a cunningly devised plot and a cast of period-specific characters: World War II enlistees, zoot suiters, pregnant teens swept covertly out of town, and young women scamming soldiers on leave. Pop’s grudging respect for his daughter’s detective skills and an unresolved mystery in the Andersons’ own household hint that this could be a YA series in the making. But if it doesn’t materialize, older teens might want to look into Haines’ Rosie Winter adult mysteries. [End Page 521]
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Haines, Kathryn Miller. The Girl Is Murder, Roaring Brook, 2011. [352p]. ISBN 978-1-59643-609-1 $16.99 Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 6-10.
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