Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

Hey this was a fun book. I used to love Enid Blyton when I was a kid so this book was perfectly targeted to me. Set in Blyton Hills (a town in the US)(very subtle!) there was a summer detective club where our gang of 5 (2 boys, 2 girls and a dog) used to solve crimes. Then after a successful last case they all split up and never went back to the town.

Their lives never quite played out the way they should have and 15(??) years on they get back together to look into that last case as things did not really work out as well as easy and simply as it first appeared. The tomboy has become an ex-marine with law issues. The nerdy pretty girl has become a college dropout working in a bar, the ‘leader’ is definitely not in the best place and the nerdy guy is in a mental institute. The dog (well his descendent) is fine. 

The characters here, while all deliberately a stereotype, are well drawn out with distinct personalities. I like the way the author explains how they got there and there’s a nice joke near the end that kind of skewers their justifications. There are nice moments of levity throughout the book but there are also some darker moments and the author blends the two together well.

While the book is an homage to those Blyton books, it also pays respect to the Lovecraftian books about vast beings from other dimensions and crazy sorcerers hiding in small towns. It’s a pretty cool combination that turned out to be much more enjoyable than I originally thought. The prose is fairly standard I think (I’m not too good at judging these things) but some scenes are well done with a movie script type character jump arounds that were pretty cool to read.

A better than expected novel that kept me up too late one night finishing it, which is always a good sign.

4 stars out of 5

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