From ECW Press:
October Schwartz and her five deadest friends are back. The holiday season has descended upon the town of Sticksville like an eggnog rainstorm, but October has no time for candy canes or mistletoe. She’s busy dealing with an oddly pleasant new history teacher, her living friends’ new roles as high-school radio DJs, and two (!) new mysteries that need solving before the new year. October and her ghost friends are hot on the trail of the person (or persons) responsible for Morna MacIsaac’s death in 1914 — or as hot as one can be on a 100-year-old trail — when
October’s friend Yumi finds herself the target of anti-Asian harassment at school. Solving two mysteries at once won’t be easy, but our intrepid heroine in black eyeliner loves a challenge.
Dial “M” for Morna, the second book in Evan Munday‘s The Dead Kid Detective Agency series, picks up at the first full moon since we last saw October—the girl, not the month (although, I guess it works for both). This time round, October intends to solve the decades-old murder of Morna McIsaac, a Scottish-immigrant ghost. As if that weren’t enough for this young detective and her dead friends, October’s living friend Yumi is the victim of racial harassment from an anonymous source and October and the dead kids need to figure out who is behind the attacks.
I felt that Munday really found his stride in this sequel. It has the same humour and general format as the first book, but it felt more cohesive. I love the friendly narrative voice—it brings the reader into the story and definitely makes for some laugh-out-loud moments that will have people on the bus giving you weird looks.
As with the first Dead Kid book, Dial “M” for Morna focuses on a specific period of Canadian history, this time focusing on the time just before World War I, when Chinese immigrants were giving their lives for the railroad and facing steep head taxes. It tied in nicely with the racism against Yumi. Not only was the historical information quite interesting but it didn’t feel pedantic. If this book had been published when I was in school, it definitely would have been on my grade 7 teacher’s class shelf. I hope teachers today will take note of this series and add it to their own class libraries.
With off-beat narration, funny pop culture references and some sneaky history lessons, Dial “M” for Morna is great edutainment.
♥ ♥ ♥ (3.5/5 hearts)
This book was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.