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BOOKS: Young sleuths solve crime for Queen of England

Daring detectives are not daunted by royal theft.

If the Queen of England were robbed, would you help solve the crime?

In "The Castle Crime," by Ron Roy, fourth graders Josh, Dink and Ruth Rose jump at the chance.

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It all starts when they visit London and tour the Madame Tussauds wax museum where they see look-alikes of famous people, including the royal family.

While there, they discover that the queen was recently robbed by two thieves dressed as her grandsons, (Prince William and Prince Harry) as she drove to Windsor Castle.

Josh, Dink and Ruth Rose are determined to solve the mystery, especially since the reward is 10,000 pounds, about the same as $15,000.

The next day, Josh, Dink and Ruth Rose board a bus to Windsor Castle. While walking through the grounds in the rain, they meet the queen and her muddy-pawed dogs. As they talk with her, they learn more about the missing tiara and necklace and about the appearance of the thieves.

All clues point to the clerk at their motel. But how will they prove it?

"The Castle Crime" is a well-constructed mystery that is perfect for young readers. Author Ron Roy includes just enough clues to keep the readers guessing, but not so many that they are overwhelmed.

Roy also helps readers consider unexpected possibilities. When Dink's father tells them about a story called "The Purloined Letter," by Edgar Allan Poe, the kids realize that the jewelry may be hidden in the open.

"The Castle Crime" also includes an unrelated mystery for the readers. In each of the 28 illustrations, there is a hidden letter. Together, these spell a question about a future mystery.

Roy (a former fourth grade teacher) has been writing books for young people since 1974. He is best known for his series writing, including the A to Z Mysteries, the Capital Mysteries and the Calendar Mysteries.

"The Castle Crime." A to Z Mysteries. Super Edition 6. By Ron Roy. Illustrated by John Steven Gurney. Random House, 2014. 144 pp.