“It seemed like there were two possible scenarios. Either Harriet was, in fact, a genius hamster who could talk, write, and had mastered the art of computer slideshows, and the presentation was going to be outstanding. Or Holly had been using Harriet in some cruel and evil way…does holly have a hamster powered desk lamp?”
The Case of the Disappearing Pets is the second book in the Middle Grade mystery series Mina Mistry Investigates. It was a fun read with great characters and some wonderful messages.
It starts with Mina and her classmates giving presentations about their pets. I loved how Angie showcased the brilliant things that kids come up with, like the person who didn’t have a pet and brought a shoe with a face, or the kid who said “not being dead” was their pet’s favourite thing. These stories really made me laugh.
There are more serious notes to the story too, and it deals a lot with animal rights. The book introduces younger readers to caring for pets, animal testing, and pet shops who don’t look after their animals. None of this feels forced on the reader, or at all like we’re being “taught” any of these things, it is dealt with in the context of an interesting mystery as Mina’s classmates find their pets are disappearing.
Mina loves a mystery, so disappearing pets is something she gets straight involved in investigating. Her investigation is very thorough, and I certainly couldn’t have worked out the things she did. She is a brilliant character and I adored her. I loved her relationship with her dad (anyone got his recipe for cardamom cocoa please?) and her friendships, especially with Holly. Mina and Holly are very different, but they work together really well.
Holly made me laugh a lot. She dresses her hamster up and gives her an Instagram page. Ellie O’Shea has illustrated this book brilliantly, but the hamster’s Instagram are my absolute favourites. Holly’s mum is fiercely anti-animal testing and is often disapproving of how Holly treats her hamster, and the make up she uses. It gives the opportunity to have some interesting conversations with children as you are reading.
This is a great book, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely read more in this series in future.