restricted access The Wizard of Dark Street (review)
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Reviewed by
Odyssey, Shawn Thomas. The Wizard of Dark Street. Egmont, 2011. [352p]. (Oona Crate Mysteries) Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-60684-143-3 $16.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-60684-277-5 $16.99 Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 5-7.

Despite being a Natural Magician, a rare person born with innate magical abilities, Oona Crate has no desire to continue to apprentice with her Learned Magician uncle—not since she cast a spell that went horribly awry and inadvertently caused the death of her mother and sister. She'd much rather work with logic, and although that seems to also be a rarity on Dark Street, one of the few remaining links between the world of men and the world of Faerie, Oona is determined to open up her own detective agency and use the nonmagical tools of reason and deduction to make a living. Her skills are put to the test when her uncle goes missing and the list of suspects is as long as it is bizarre: there's Sanora Crane, the itty-bitty witch in training from under Witch Hill; the wealthy Iree twins, snotty Isadora and her handsome brother Adler; a hapless human boy; and finally, Red Martin, Dark Street's biggest crime boss. Though the prose sometimes offers too much exposition, a sleuth in the land of Faerie (or the road that leads there) is a delightful premise, and the mystery of Oona's missing uncle and the magical hijinks she encounters in her search for him are all entertaining. This is at heart a rollicking good whodunit with plenty of red herrings and suspicious characters to keep readers guessing until the villian's ultimate revelation. Oona's insistence on being herself is admirable, and although she concedes that magic may have some good to offer, it is ultimately her wits and cleverness that save the day. Readers who tended to choose chess over make-believe as youngsters will find a kindred spirit in Oona. [End Page 533]