The Swifts: A Dictionary of Scoundrels
by Beth Lincoln
Illustrated by Claire Powell
* * * Stars (Pretty good)
All of the Swifts are named by their family dictionary, which chooses a name that, while open to interpretation, fits each Swift to a T. Shenanigan and her sisters (Phenomena and Felicity) live with their Arch-Aunt Schadenfreude (matriarch of the Swift family), Uncle Maelstrom, and Cook (not a Swift by blood, but still family). The Swift Family Reunion is about to take place, where all sorts of Swifts will descend upon the ancestral home to get reacquainted and – more importantly – search for Grand-Uncle Vile’s treasure. In preparation for the festivities (and the hunt) Shenanigan has been mapping out the house and all of its secret rooms and passageways so she can beat her relatives to the treasure. While these reunions tend to have their share of family squabbles and drama, this one distinguishes itself with a host of deadly incidents. Someone is out to find and steal the treasure, murdering anyone who gets in their way! Shenanigan, her sisters, and their cousin Erf turn their attention to finding the killer as the body count grows.
While those familiar with crime scene investigations and proper police procedure will be horrified by the liberties taken within these pages (everyone is incredibly blasé about the victims!). But the young amateur detectives do a pretty decent job investigating. In addition to being a suspenseful mystery, this also explores the characters’ growth, identities, and self-discovery. For grades 4-8.
Reviewed by YA Librarian