Cover Image: The Case of the Bicycle Thief

The Case of the Bicycle Thief

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Member Reviews

A brilliant tale of school girl detective Mina Mystry.

When her cousins bikes go missing they turn to Mina to solve the case. Can Mina investigate without arousing suspicions from those around her?

A lovely light hearted read interspersed with large illustrations that break up the text. Manageable quantities of text on each page make this book accessible to those who find large amounts of small print overwhelming.

A brilliant independent read for year 3 and above.

I like that the author addresses stereotypes about race and culture in a way that is subtle but clear.

I’m sure many children would relate to characters within the story.

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The Case of the Bicycle Thief is the third book in the Mina Mistry series. When her cousin's bikes go missing, Mina takes on the case to discover who could have stolen them. But with the town competition for the best decorated bike and the new skate park opening, Mina is in for a busy week.

Mina is a vibrant character with an interesting and engaging narrative voice that readers will love. The formatting of the text and the gorgeous illustrations help to tell the story and add character to the book.

However, I was disappointed by the lack of focus on the mystery. It takes a couple of chapters before the mystery is even introduced and throughout the book, it takes a backseat to the new skate park storyline. Mina doesn't do very much investigating at all and I think readers will be disappointed if they are hoping for an interesting mystery.

Mina is half-Indian and there is an uncomfortable scene with Holly's (Mina's best friend) mum, who keeps bringing up that Mina is half-Indian and making inappropriate and racist comments about Mina's culture:

- (talking to her daughter) "You can't disrespect Mina's culture like that." (the conversation had nothing to do with Mina's culture)
- (talking to her daughter)"Why don't you look for someone with a different culture ... Mina, do you have any cousins?"
- "Oh, you're having a party ... I didn't know if you celebrated that sort of thing in your community."

I think it's great that the author wanted to draw attention to these types of microaggressions that POC may face, but I don't think it was handled well at all. There was little criticism of Holly's mum's comments and I think the story needs to make it clearer what was wrong with her statements and push back against them. As it stands, the scene is incredibly uncomfortable and doesn't do enough to denounce the racism contained in it.

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Thank you so much to Sweet Cherry Publishing and Netgalley for the earc being available to read and review.

Mina finds herself solving another crime in her small town, this time after her cousins birthday their gifts of two wonderful new bikes go missing. She sets her mind to figure out what happened to them, who did it and why. With the new skate park about to open and fun contests she along with everyone in town get their scooters, skates and bikes ready decorated and ready.

I didn’t really enjoy this as much as the others, there wasn’t too much of a mystery in this one and it was a lot simpler and wasn’t new evidence reoccurring regularly for her to solve from. There was much of her with mr. panda who is her crime solving partner, nor really much investigating, I feel like a lot of the charm the previous books had were not in this one which is sad. Her case was much too simple and solved too quickly.

Let’s also not ignore Holly’s mum who was just plain rude to Mina throughout and that situation got swept under the rug and no dealt with at all which quite frankly was not great to read.

I still believe it’s a good book and kids will still really enjoy reading it and figuring out for themselves what happed to the bikes and who and why. I just personally found it to not be as exciting, or fun as the previous ones.

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An interesting mystery, a little heavy on stereotypes for the age range I think but enjoyable all the same.

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This was really fun and exciting. I like mystery books so i liked this one a lot, it had a really great ending

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Hmmm... There are certainly worse books out there, but there are a darned sight better ones, too. Mina is back, all present and correct, trying to solve a heinous crime in her neighbourhood (where does she live – Midsomer?!), but something is lacking. For one, Mr Panda and his extreme sports barely get a look-in, for another the story around the case is a wishy-washy one of a skate park opening and competitions for most dazzling home-customisation and stunt riding, and another – the whole shebang is just so annoyingly slow to get going. It's far too far into the book before two brand new bicycles get stolen, with a parrot the only witness, and Mina forced to track the rides down before they disappear. I had found the first two books in this series to be perfectly OK – desperately inoffensive, harmless entertainment to entertain inoffensive, harmless young readers. This was the same, but boy it needed a kick up the arse in the first third. And yes, I should have said it needed to find a faster gear, but my words showed much more the urgency that this affair lacked – as does, I hope, the two and a half star rating. Also, you can see that future books will be saddled with the fallout of a crossed-purpose relationship idea, so this might be where the series and I part.

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