Review of The Queen of Thieves

The Queen of Thieves The Queen of Thieves [Moonwind Mysteries]
by Johan Rundberg; trans. from Swedish by A. A. Prime
Intermediate, Middle School    Amazon Crossing Kids    207 pp.
3/24    9781662509629    $17.99
Paper ed.  9781662509612    $9.99

In this sequel to The Night Raven (rev. 9/23), young detective Mika has reason to suspect that some of the children at her orphanage have taken to thieving. Instead, she discovers they’ve been taken under the wing of an elegant, savvy performance artist, Henrietta, who has promised them an ideal home at her distant estate, the Apple Farm. First, though, they will help Henrietta with her knife-throwing show at a gala dinner where a priceless Japanese gemstone will be exhibited. When Mika meets Henrietta, even she feels the pull of the promise of a real home and agrees to help her—until, with a little reading of the newspaper and quick, critical thinking, Mika realizes that “something doesn’t quite make sense.” This second Moonwind Mystery has a more somber tone than the first, perhaps because, although the book is set in 1880s Stockholm, the orphans’ precarious futures and heartfelt longing make for a vulnerability that rings true here and now. Rundberg vividly conveys the part that hope plays in feeding the soul. At the same time, this is a wonderfully eventful mystery, with unpredictable plots, schemes, and a successful get-out-of-jail attempt engineered by a team of juvenile explosive experts—not to mention indomitable Mika and her sidekick, unkempt and unorthodox police detective Hoff.

Pubissue-From the March/April 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Deirdre Baker
Deirdre F. Baker
Deirdre F. Baker, a reviewer for The Horn Book Magazine and the Toronto Star, teaches children’s literature at the University of Toronto. The author of Becca at Sea (Groundwood), she is currently at work on a sequel—written in the past tense.

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