By: Norah McClintock
Publisher: Darby Creek Publishing
Publication Date: August 2012
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: January 23, 2012
Ms. Denholm was subbing for Ms. March and would not only teach English, but also direct the school play. Tryouts would be coming up soon, but there would be plenty of other things to get involved in so Robyn Hunter decided to sign up for “Props and Set Dressing.” Her two best friends, Morgan and Billy, decided to sign up as well. During a lull in her day, Ms. Nettleworth asked Robyn to deliver some flowers that had arrived for Ms. Denholm, who asked her to open them. It was really pretty freaky because there was no card and the tissue paper was black. Yeah, there were a dozen roses, but also a headless baby doll that was “spattered with what looked like blood.” It had to be some sort of prank, or was it?
Romance was in the air, but a gift like Ms. Denholm’s she could live without. Robyn, on one level, was still pining for Nick, the “neighborhood bad boy,” as her dad viewed him. Ben Logan was the type of guy who was from the right side of the tracks. “Ben has it all,” Morgan flat out stated, but even so he was moving a bit too fast for her. Frankly, he was much more serious about her than she was comfortable with, especially when he said he loved her. Besides, even though Nick had disappeared without a trace ... well, there was just something about him. Ms. Denholm had made her the assistant director of the play, but even that couldn’t keep her mind off him ... or that freaky doll.
The doll wouldn’t be the first freakish problem for her new teacher, nor the last. Apparently Ms. Denholm had an ex-boyfriend who appeared to be stalking her and was getting closer all the time. Had he sent those flowers? Robyn’s father, Mac Hunter, claimed that Melissa Denholm had “a history of unpredictable behavior,” but things weren’t adding up. She really looked and acted scared when something happened. When she panicked and cried out “Stop calling me! Stop calling me!,” was that some sort of act? Even Ms. Rachlis, a good friend of Ms. Denholm’s, had been a witness to several incidents. Would Robyn be able to figure out what was happening before it was too late? It was only when Robyn felt the “point of a knife pierce the skin” of her neck she knew that doll wasn’t a prank!
Robyn Hunter is once again on the hunt for a potential killer, one who just could be watching her. Each time I real a “Robyn Hunter Mystery,” I marvel at the uniqueness of the plots. These mysteries definitely aren’t of the cookie cutter variety and young readers will look forward to each installment. This mystery starts with Robyn being questioned and videotaped by cop Charlie Hart. The reader has to work his or her way back through an intricate mystery to find out just how and why she’s sitting in a police station. Sharp mystery buffs will be able to ascertain a few clues, but won’t know for sure what transpired until the last few pages are turned and Robyn feels blood running down her neck.
Quill says: The Robyn Hunter mysteries will definitely appeal to young readers who like a good solid mystery!