‘I’m giving that up,’ said Friday.
‘What?’ asked Melanie.
‘Private detection, solving mysteries, that stuff,’ said Friday. ‘I’m not going to do that anymore.’
It’s been two years since we last saw Friday and the years haven’t been kind to her. When we meet up with her again she’s just been released from “the country’s highest security juvenile detention facility”, having spent eleven months imprisoned there.
In that time Binky has graduated (I miss him already!) but Melanie is still at Highcrest Academy and she has held onto Friday’s green pork-pie hat. Melanie might be a great napper but she also knows her best friend can’t stay away from solving mysteries for long.
Thanks to Parker, who was at Highcrest Academy all along but still seems like a replacement Binky to me, Friday is soon investigating the case of the missing passport and missing underwear. She also has an appointment with the school counsellor.
‘Are you going to psychoanalyse me based on my literary preferences?’
Uncle Bernie, Ian, Ian’s mother and Friday’s new cousin are still in Italy. Uncle Bernie needs Friday’s help so it’s lucky that there’s a school excursion to Italy that Friday can join. Melanie’s coming too and as usual she constantly reminded me why I love her.
‘I know you feel scared right now because you’re out of practice at being brave. But I’m your best friend, so I know for a fact that you can do this because you’re the bravest person I’ve ever met.’
For someone who spends most of the book sleeping, she manages to snag some really good lines.
Once they’re all in Italy, Friday has plenty of mysteries to investigate, including the case of the gelato rivals, the mysteriously malfunctioning water heater and the potential theft of priceless artefacts from museums. There are nuns and tourist attractions and the opportunity to say things like:
‘It’s an urgent matter of national historic importance.’
It was really good to get to hang out with Ian again. He and Friday make a great team, even though they sometimes baffle one another.
‘I think you’re going to surprise me, by doing something unimaginable. You always do.’
Friday has grown up a bit in the past two years but her time in Juvie has had a huge impact on her. She’s more fragile and vulnerable, and it’s sad to see her readjusting to real life again. At the same time, though, what she’s been through has made her more relatable to me. While I always loved her, in some of the earlier books it was easy to believe that almost nothing fazed her because she was so out of touch with her feelings.
‘I don’t understand why people do the things they do. I just know what I’ve read in books.’
I’m so glad this series is continuing. I wish Friday had been there to model smart, socially awkward and loveable to me when I was a kid.
Once Upon a Blurb
It’s two years later …
Friday steps out of prison, a shell of her former self. She’s still wearing the same brown cardigan, but she swears she’s never solving mysteries again! Who is Friday kidding? She can’t suppress her brilliant deductive mind and is soon drawn back into the intrigues of Highcrest Academy.
Then Uncle Bernie rings, pleading with Friday to fly to Italy and help him protect the Uffizi Gallery from a team of art thieves – and she can’t say ‘no’ to family. Even if it means travelling to the city where Ian, her nemesis/ex-boyfriend is living.
Will Friday be able to protect Italy’s finest artworks? Will Melanie stay awake long enough to help her? And will Ian still be as gorgeous as a Greek god and twice as annoying?