Cora Flash is ecstatic when she finally convinces her mom to let her take a train ride by herself to visit a relative in the mountains. Once on board, Cora meets a cast of intriguing characters, and stumbles upon her very own mystery: A valuable diamond has gone missing, and only one of her fellow travellers could have stolen it. It’s up to our novice detective to solve the crime before the train reaches its destination – or the thief reaches Cora. This is the first book in the ‘Cora Flash’ series.
A cute idea, Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar is a cross between Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown. The biggest difference for me was that Cora, unlike Nancy Drew, is close in age to the intended audience making it even easier for the readers to connect with her even as they’re scrambling to try and solve the mystery before her. (It’s too much fun to let the detectives solve the mysteries!)
Using the old train heist mystery as the setting, Davies sets up a fun mystery that’ll keep the readers on the edge of their seats. Though there are moments when Cora’s voice doesn’t match the age she’s supposed to be, it doesn’t make this any less of a fun mystery. Definitely a new mystery for the younger generations, it was surprising for an old timer like me to see a youngster, a mere 11 year old with a cell phone when I’m used to the mysteries of old where such things didn’t exist or at least not commonly. (Clearly a sign that I need more middle-grade mysteries in my life.)
Cyn’s Take: RATING: 3 out of 5 stars
A nod to Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (without the murder of course), 11-year-old Cora Flash has her first adventure on a train when the priceless diamond of Madagascar disappears on-route. Travelling alone, Cora makes a few friends along the journey (including a cute puppy!) and with this colourful cast of suspects confined to the train, Cora helps the undercover Inspector to solve the case before the train arrives at its final destination and the diamond is lost forever.
Cora is a pretty likable and resourceful girl, though at times she seems to know more than an average 11-year-old but others don’t know seemingly simple things. My only disappointment is she’s not nearly as mischievous and troublesome as I hoped. The mystery on the train is written well enough that there are clues in place that gives the reader a chance to try to solve the mystery with Cora (or before her). Davey takes the time to update the gadgets and methods of solving mysteries to fit the 21st century with Cora’s use of her cell phone etc. (I don’t want to give too much away!) without taking away too much of the good old traditional sleuthing.
Overall, it was a cute and enjoyable book. For me personally I think if I was the age of the actual target demographic (middle-school years), I’d probably would have enjoyed it a little more than I did. I think it’s a great book for the new generation of younger readers so here’s hoping that the rest of the Cora Flash series only gets better from here on out.
Wanna win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar? Well, there are two ways to enter…
- Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a $50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official Cora Flash tour page.
- Enter the Rafflecopter contest! I’ve posted the contest form below, or you can enter on the tour page linked above.
Tommy Davey spent his youth writing mystery stories and plays, and watching reruns of Three’s Company until every line of dialogue was permanently burned into his memory. When not writing, he enjoys traveling to favorite destinations including New York City and Paris, which he plans to feature in future stories. He lives in Toronto, where he was born and raised, with a Norfolk Terrier named Calvin. “Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar” is his first novel. Connect with Tommy on his website, Facebook, Twitter, or GoodReads.
Everything can be made better with a good book or some relaxing knits. 😀 Find me on IG @kimberlyh12 or on Twitter @enervated.