DAWN UNDERCOVER
Anna Dale

 


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Allen & Unwin, February 2006
Reviewed by Sally Roddom

Dawn Buckle is so ordinary that no-one seems to notice her – not even her family. She is a perfect candidate to join S.H.H. (Strictly Hush Hush) and learn espionage and sleuthing, to become the first highly trained child spy with P.S.S.T (Pursuit of Scheming Spies and Traitors). Dawn and Trudy, the secretary of P.S.S.T., are deployed to the village of Cherry Bently to locate a missing spy and an evil criminal, Murdo Meek. Can Dawn piece together all the parts of the baffling riddle before Murdo kills his hostage, Angela Bradshaw? Can she outwit this master criminal while at the same keeping out of harm's way? And what on earth is she going to do about the stowaway Felix, grandson of Angela, and his dreadful dog Haltwhistle?

The story gets off to a slow start as her actual mission doesn’t start until halfway through the book. There is a large cast of entertaining, but bumbling, characters: none of them are particularly well developed. Even the star, Dawn, is not easy to figure out as one minute the author has her using sophisticated vocabulary, solving complicated puzzles with a kick ass attitude – the next minute she seems to be a young stuffed-animal-carrying little girl. DAWN UNDERCOVER is a fun read with a satisfactory ending, and Dawn Buckle is a likeable character. It is aimed at a younger audience, ages 9 to 11. Will appeal to kids who feel ignored or unappreciated, but know deep down inside that they have some unique feature that could make a difference if only someone would give them the chance.

July 2006 review originally published on Murder and Mayhem

 

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