The Foxy Find-Outers
Everybody loves a good mystery, but there?s a deplorable lack of fun, adventurous detective stories coming out of India, especially for kids. This pacy book follows the adventures of the Foxy Four, a group of 16 year-old convent school hostelites who are whizzes at solving seemingly impossible mysteries. Shades of Nancy Drew? Hardly. These four are fully Indian, stereotypical characters ? the math and computer genius Padma, the tomboyish and sporty Jahan, the celeb and boy-obsessed Mandy and the bookish, dumpy and quiet observer, Charu (national integration cleverly worked in, too). The four detectives chase suspects through the?galis of Benaras, watch a Bollywood shoot and eavesdrop on the villain, get into some nasty scrapes with a minor politician, and piece together clues, all the while swotting for an inter-school quiz. They come up tops in the end, of course, recovering a stolen idol from some sleazy smugglers, and getting kudos from all the adults around. Although the teens are stereotypes, the adult characters are very interesting ? a mad-hatter of an aunt, a nun with a wicked sense of humour, and a peon with astrological leanings. A good read.
I wonder, though, will today?s teenage girls, fed on a diet of Twilight, reality shows and 90210 find this book a little ?uncool?? The only one of the Foxy Four who seems a realistic depiction of the urban teens I see around me is Mandy who is crazy about films and pop stars and boys. The rest are almost disdainful of these things?so perhaps the book will appeal to a younger age group, the tweens, 10-12 year olds? Write in and tell us what you think!
Star Struck! by Subhadra Sengupta – the second Foxy Four adventure – Young Zubaan, 2010.?Rs 195. Available at all major bookstores or order online at Zubaan.
WIN IT! Win both the Foxy Four adventures (Double Click! and Star Struck!) and one other book of your choice from Young Zubaan. Check contest area for details.