The Cryptic Casebook of Coco Carlomagno and Alberta (series)
Allen & Unwin, 2014
pbk., 84pp., RRP $A9.99
Meet Coco Carlomagno the highly-strung Chief of Police of Buenos Aries and his more grounded but cunning cousin, Alberta who work together to solve the mysteries of that city. As intrepid crime-fighters, they are on each case with enthusiasm and go deep under cover to discover the answers. Being guinea pigs allows them to go deeper than most!
So far, there are six in the series – The Perplexing Pineapple, The Looming Lamplight, The Missing Mongoose, The Dismal Daffodil, The Quivering Quavers and The Talking Tombstone – and each has a mystery to solve with critical pictures to examine, clues to follow and puzzles to solve that makes each an enthralling and engaging story for the younger independent reader wanting a challenge. (Miss 8 adores them). Embedded in Dubosarsky’s witty text are a range of puzzles created by Terry Denton for the reader to work through and both text and illustrations encourage the reader to play close attention so they can attempt to solve the mystery before Coco and Alberto do. Each book has a glossary of the Spanish words used in the story as well as an explanation of the clues so the reader can return to the page and reflect on what was read and how it added to the story.
The Dismal Daffodil explores the Japanese garden in BA, while The Quivering Quavers goes behind the scenes at the opera and The Talkative Tombstone is set in the cemetery. Just the sorts of settings you’d expect a mystery to be set and a wonderful way to introduce students to a new genre and have them asking for more.
Such combined creative minds as Dubosarsky and Denton can only mean an excellent read. As eager learners come into the library to find what’s new for this new school year, this series should be on prominent display.