Sherlock Sam and the Sinister Letters in Bras Basah Review
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When I was a kid, I enjoyed the mystery and suspense of Encyclopedia Brown books. But in the third Sherlock Sam mystery by husband and wife duo A. J. Low, Sherlock Sam and the Sinister Letters in Bras Basah, young mystery lovers get a little bit of culture with their whodunit, too.

The story follows 10-year-old Sam, his robot sidekick, and their closest friends as they spend the week studying at Singapore’s international school. They’re excited to make new friends and learn about other cultures—but they also get caught up in a mystery. One of the students has been receiving suspicious notes that he’s supposed to deliver to his famous author father—notes containing thinly veiled threats. Fortunately, though, Sam and his friends are able to step in and watch for any suspicious behavior—as well as collect clues that will lead them to the guilty party.

  
 
This third Sherlock Sam novel is a fun-filled mystery for young readers. It’s a short, easy read that puts kids in charge of solving an important case. They hunt for clues and sort through them using their own deduction—and though the mystery is somewhat simple, it’s not so simple that they figure it all out right away. They still have to work for it a bit.

Admittedly, it does seem a bit strange that Sam’s police officer friend asks a bunch of kids to investigate the situation—especially considering that the letters seem to be threatening the wellbeing of their classmate. But the case is still small enough that it doesn’t seem too unreasonable.

Kids will also love the characters—from brainy fourth-grader Sam and his long-suffering robot to their “Supper Club” of friends and tagalongs. Though the supporting characters aren’t developed as fully as Sam and Watson, they bring their own personality to the story—and they add their own perspectives to the case, too.

But this is more than just another mystery for kids. This series is full of personality and cultural touches that make it stand out. Sam lives in Singapore—and, in this installment, he meets kids from various cultures at the international school. And his experiences help to expose readers to different cultures—to different languages, different foods, and different traditions. And, to aid in the process, the authors even offer a glossary of unfamiliar terms—and they throw in a few fun puzzles and activities to make it a fun-filled learning experience.

Sherlock Sam and the Sinister Letters in Bras Basah is an entertaining way to introduce your favorite young readers both to mysteries and to other cultures. It’s a playful, quirky read—and after the mystery is solved, readers are sure to seek out the other books in the series, too.


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