The Missing Chancleta and other Top-Secret Cases
A Detective Flaca Short Story Collection by Alidis Vicente
Review: Eight-year-old Flaquita — Detective Flaca to her family and friends — relates the stories behind three of her investigations in The Missing Chancleta and other Top-Secdret Cases, the first book in this potential series by Alidis Vicente, written in both English and Spanish. (The Spanish title is La Chanceleta Perdida y otros Casos Secretos.)
Her very first investigation as a seven-year-old into a missing chancleta (flip-flop) opens the book. She interrogates her immediate family as she can recall each of them having it in their possession at one time or another. But its final resting place remains a mystery … until she solves the case and marks it closed.
The second case in the book, her 55th, involves someone trying to poison her! Allergic to oranges, she finds a fruit cup in her school lunch filled with them. Driven to know who would do this to her, she finally identifies the culprit (who was aware of her allergy but apparently unaware of her fruits) and marks this case closed, too.
The final case, her 103rd-ish, involves not finding something physical, but something personal. It's a clever and rather sweet twist on a detective investigation, as she prepares for the quinceañera, or 15th birthday celebration, of her older sister, who she affectionately (or sometimes not) calls "La Bruja". To be sure, this case remains open and in progress.
Flaca is a charming storyteller, a bit sassy and outspoken and definitely opinionated, but entertaining nonetheless. The English version includes several words in Spanish, always in context so it is easy to work out their meaning, a nice touch for readers, who may be looking to learn a few words of a new language. The Spanish version, however, does not seem to include any English words, which is kind of odd and rather disappointing. Still, this is a good choice for elementary school amateur sleuths.
Acknowledgment: Arte Público Press provided a copy of The Missing Chancleta and other Top-Secret Cases for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Missing Chancleta and other Top-Secret Cases:
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The Missing Chancleta and other Top-Secret Cases by Alidis Vicente — A Detective Flaca Short Story Collection
Publisher: Piñata Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: November 2013
List Price: $9.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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