Title: The Cousins Crime: Unravelled by Krisha Batra, An Amateur Sleuth
Author: Manasi Patil
Publication date: May 20, 2020
Genre: Mystery, YA
One Sentence Summary: An ordinary trip to a donut shop with her brother unexpectedly pulls teen sleuth Krisha into a mystery that could have disastrous consequences.
Going in to The Cousins Crime, I knew it was written by a teen, so I knew I wasn’t likely to get an amazing, twisty, complex mystery. Instead, the description reminded me of the Nancy Drew books I loved during my early teen years, especially with it’s teen sleuth with a penchant for stumbling into mysteries. Well, I’ve always loved Nancy, so I was more than happy to review The Cousins Crime, and I’m pleased it did manage to satisfy me, though it does need polishing.
The Bare Bones
It’s an ordinary day for Krisha and her brother as they happily ride along to the local donut shop. While there, though, the power goes out and the owner discovers she’s been robbed. Krisha is on the case right away and she works quickly to ensure the donut shop doesn’t have to go out of business.
The Cousins Crime is a really short, really quick read. It gets right to it, so it feels quite action packed. There isn’t too much meat to it as only the pertinent parts are given. There aren’t really any twists and turns, though Krisha is faced with a certain amount of danger. I especially liked how the ending of each chapter just tantalizes the reader to keep going and not stop.
I had moderate, balanced expectations going into this story, and ended up being satisfied with what I got. I wasn’t expecting anything complex and full of twists and turns, though I did appreciate the bits of danger thrown in. It felt like a Nancy Drew novel on fast forward. I would have appreciated more time in each scene, but Patil did pack in what the reader needed to know. I missed the emotional aspect, the really getting to know the characters, but did like how it just kept moving and how things just kept happening. This is the bare bones of the story and everything felt a little too easy, but, because it’s so short, there’s really no reason to not finish it and get the spirit of what could be an interesting mystery for a teen detective.
An Indian Nancy Drew
Since The Cousins Crime reminded me of Nancy Drew, of course Krisha reminded me of Nancy. She’s straightforward and doggedly pursues her mystery. She doesn’t shy away from what she needs to do and I liked how she just took charge. It did feel a little too easy with the way the adults readily agreed to let her solve the mystery instead of involve law enforcement, but she just has such a strong, straightforward manner. An Indian version of Nancy Drew, I think there’s a great deal of potential for her.
With how quickly the story goes, I do, in a sense, understand why all the adults were so willing to go along with Krisha and let her solve the crime. On the other hand, it just felt too easy. Other than the fact that her parents are well-respected professionals, I didn’t really understand why they were so willing to hand over information and solving the crime to a 17 year old, especially since this is the reader’s first introduction to Krisha.
Since the story happens so quickly, the place felt a little hard for me to envision as few details are given and I am not familiar with India. Still, since it’s written by an Indian teen about an Indian teen, I had no problems believing the world. I also liked that Krisha bikes around a lot, so it made it feel open and fresh. It also made it feel like everything was relatively close together even if one place was in a different town.
Simplistic, but With Potential
The Cousins Crime is simplistic and a bit rough, but it has some really great points. The story is quick and simple, but offers some nice revelations at the end that was both sweet and a little disappointing with how quick it was. Krisha was my favorite part of the book since I really liked her spunk and her focus on doing what was right. Overall, a promising idea, but just needs further development and fleshing out of the story and characters.
Great if you enjoy: quick reads, simple mysteries, Nancy Drew, middle grade to young YA mysteries
Not great if you’re looking for: complex mysteries with twists and turns, adult mystery
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Thank you to the author, Manasi Patil, for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.
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