Blakemore, Megan Frazer, The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill, 312 pgs. Bloomsbury, 2015. $16.99. Language: G: (0 swears) Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG.
12-year-old Hazel Kaplansky is the smartest kid in the class, until Samuel Butler moves in. Samuel’s grandmother owns the safe making factory in town, and during the cold war and McCarthyism, there’s no end to the speculation about who might be spying for Russia. Hazel is convinced that their new hired hand, Mr. Jones, is certainly the head of the spy ring, and that he’s getting information from the spies in the factory. But a sleuth needs a partner, and Samuel fits the bill. But Samuel has a few secrets of his own, secrets everyone in town seems to know except Hazel.
This historical fiction is delightful. Full of references to the 50’s (Nancy Drew, TV shows and good old small town USA library and gas station) the characters are real, and the mystery is intriguing with a couple of red herrings. Historically, I loved the nostalgia, but I don’t know if the cold war is interesting enough to capture today’s young readers.
EL MS - OPTIONAL Lisa Librarian