Archit Taneja’s “The Case of the Candy Bandit” is the story of the Bandit who steals the Candies or other small treats.
Rachita and Aarti are the founding members of Superlative Sleuths; they have decreed that any crime committed shall be solved. While the logical thinking Rachita relishes the idea of solving crimes, Aarti, Rachita’s best friend, tags along reluctantly. What is the use of sleuths unless there is a crime to solve? The duo are soon presented with an opportunity to use their sleuthing skills.
Everybody in their class routinely get small treat packs, usually a sweet dessert, as incentive for finishing their lunches. One day it happens that many of their classmates find that their small treat packs meant as snacks go missing. The mystery continues everyday. Surely this is an occasion for their crime solving skills to be put to use.
Rachita tries several methods, starting with colouring the treats with food colouring and then hiding in the class cupboard to look out for the thief, all in vain. She even gets very scientific and goes to the extent of calculating the centre of crime.
When Rachita is clueless and at the point of giving up, she gets a fingerprint kit as a gift for her birthday. She decides to put it to work and what does she find? Two sets of star-shaped marks!
Is that a clue at all? What is the result of the lie detector test that she administers to her entire class? Do her wild dreams help in narrowing down her suspects? Read the book and find the culprit!
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- The no-nonsense, matter-of-fact, logical Rachita and the giggly, mushy, dreamy Aarti form a great pair.
- A perfectly plausible plot with an interesting denouement that comes as a surprise. The attempts that the logical Rachita makes at solving the crime indicate how problem-solving has to be approached methodically, one idea at a time. The elaborate formulae and plans are very convincing examples of how a child with a scientific bent might go about in her problem-solving trials.
- The narrative, in first person by Rachita, is humorous and gets one giggling at the silliness of the events.
- The drawings that accompany each attempt at crime-solving are apt and complement the narrative well.
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- The story starts out with an interesting problem, sags down in pace after a while. Then it picks up towards the end. The storyline could have been tautened more.
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- This is the debut book of Taneja – I’m sure we’ll see more of him.
A tasty case!
A copy of this book was given me by the publishers, Duckbill in return for an honest review. Thanks Duckbill.