Agent Zaiba Investigate: The Smuggler's Secret
The fourth instalment in Agent Zaiba’s illustrious case history, The Smuggler’s Secret sees the observant and deductive Zaiba, fashion enthusiast best friend Poppy, cousin and ex-rival Mariam, and little brother Ali, all give the adults a hand with another mystery that arises on a History Club excursion to the seaside. Plotty and dynamically paced, their adventure picks up threads from the previous volumes, while remaining an engaging story in its own right, littered with credible suspects, motivations, and red herrings crucial to any good mystery.
The heady subjects of complicated human histories are approached accessibly throughout, with questions of Western museums’s misappropriation of stolen cultural artefacts and colonialism integral to the mystery, with an eye always to Zaiba and her friends learning to apply their keen detective’s instincts to engaging critically with history. Key to the telling however is the persistent spirit of fun! Each of Snow Leopard Detective Agency’s members is open to new discoveries, enthusiastic about their defined and individual passions, and supportive to their friends, lending the group a familial warmth that invites the reader to join the adventure and keep their own eyes peeled. The prose style leans towards the simple and the sensory, tying into Zaiba’s goal to observe her surroundings accurately and with all tools available to her.
A gently joyous celebration of curiosity, studded with a mix of lovely full-page and narrative augmenting minor illustrations, The Smuggler’s Secret provides a friendly group of voracious learners for any voracious reader.