Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Take Your Last Breath, a Ruby Redfort mystery

Junior Fiction by Lauren Child.

           My granddaughter Ava LOVES Ruby Redfort, and after reading the second of her adventures, I can see why:  Ruby is cool!  The first book wasn’t available so it was a little difficult to fill in all the details;  suffice to say Ruby is almost the youngest secret agent ever, except for the late Bradley Baker, who was recruited when he was even younger than her (thirteen) by Spectrum, a spy agency ‘set up to foil the plots of evil geniuses capable of committing any crime’.  Since Ruby’s induction into the agency she has risked death, broken codes (she is a master code-cracker – it’s just something she does) and has had Perfect Bradley Baker rammed down her throat at every opportunity:  well, she’ll show her superiors at Spectrum that girls can do ANYTHING!
            Well, anything with some rock-solid assistance from her very best friend Clancy Drew, who is the most loyal bestie in the universe;  he is not supposed to know that she is a secret agent, but where she is concerned he is zipped up tighter than an oyster and is as reliable as the sunrise – with one exception:  he doesn’t like the ocean.  Nasty critters such as sharks  live in the ocean, and he is not convinced by Ruby’s explanation that ‘sharks are just big fish going about their business’.  As far as Clance is  concerned, their business is to eat him, and because of this aversion he is a particularly fast swimmer – when he can  be convinced, persuaded or bullied to put a toe in the water.
            Which is a definite inconvenience because Ruby’s latest adventure is to check out rumours of Pirate attacks on the local shipping in their coastal city of Twinford, and even more exciting whispers of buried treasure somewhere in the outlying islands:  Ruby needs Clance to be her partner, her offsider, not a jelly-trembler hiding under the seat of the boat – which she has commandeered from Spectrum without their knowledge.  Ruby is taking the mantra ‘Girls Can Do Anything’ to its outer limits, not to mentioned getting sacked by Spectrum boss LB if she is discovered.  Yep, Clancy will have to put his silly little phobias aside if he wants to outwit pirates and find treasure.  What’s he got to worry about?  It’ll be a stroll in the park.  Yeah, right!
            I can certainly see why Ava is so devoted to Ruby:  Ms Child has created a SuperGirl who is heaps of fun.  She has amazing talents bordering on the genius level but she still manages to have ordinary friends who do ordinary things – and they are all very, VERY funny.  The villains in this story couldn’t be more villainous, especially Count von Viscount, whom Ruby faced down in the first book – he doesn’t do too well in this story either, but I’m sure he’ll be back for Book Three.  I should think so!  FOUR STARS   

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