Goodreads: The Mystery at the Old Rancho
Series: Surfside Girls #2
Sam and Jade are back to solve another mystery! When Maria, one of the ghosts at Danger Point, starts to think she is seeing her long-dead father, Sam and Jade start investigating. What really happened to Maria’s father? And who is the man she saw on the beach?
The Mystery at the Old Rancho is the second installment of the Surfside Girls series, but readers do not have to be familiar with the first adventure to solve this one. The basic premise is that protagonists Jade and Sam can see ghosts, and they help those ghosts solve mysteries. It’s sort of like an updated Nancy Drew series, with a supernatural twist. I was totally engrossed.
Sam and Jade are likable protagonists, not drawn in any detail, but likable mainly because they are young, they are friends, and they are eager to help. Their kind of vague characterization is an asset, much like Nancy Drew’s–who they are does not matter as much as their ability to solve mysteries. They are stand-ins for the readers, who live vicariously through their adventures.
And what a great adventure they have in this installment! In their attempts to help Maria, a ghost who believes she is seeing her deceased father, they visit a museum, travel to consult some archives, and end up finding a secret passageway. The story thus has some semblance of realism in its depiction of how to track down historical details, but also that hint of escapist fun.
The Mystery at the Old Rancho is a perfect summer read. Set on the beach, it has surfing, cute boys, and a beautiful natural setting–as well as mystery and adventure. Fans of serial mystery stories like Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys will enjoy this series, as well graphic novel fans looking for their next engrossing read.