Mina Mistry Investigates, The Case of the Disgusting School Dinners by Angie Lake

Illustrated by Ellie O’Shea.

Published by Sweet Cherry Publishing, 2020.

School girl Mina Mistry knows what she wants to be in life – a private investigator. She’s honing her skills by keeping secret files on the people she encounters and noting any suspicious activity. The first thing to arouse her suspicions is the mis-match between her school’s healthy eating campaign and the food being served in the school canteen: chicken nugget pizza, double cheeseburgers, and ice cream in chocolate sauce, all washed down with cola topped with marshmallows.

Together with her best friends Holly and Mr Panda, Mina begins her investigations – looking for clues, interviewing suspects and following leads. Will they uncover the reason for the nutritionally imbalanced school meals? And why is the town’s one and only dentist so busy?

Mina Mistry Investigates would be perfect for reluctant or newly confident readers. The book has a non-intimidating layout: illustrations, double-line spacing and words in bold for emphasis. The occasional use of speech bubbles gives the book a graphic novel feel from time to time too.

The book is written in a lovely light tone with plenty of gentle humour. There are lots of funny observations about life at school. Mina’s granny Meera is also a brilliant character. She is a cook and loves experimenting with unusual combinations. She has her own special brand of fusion cooking; she loves mixing traditional English food with traditional Indian food. Some of her creations are more successful than others. I’d love onion-bahjis-in-the-hole but I’m not sure I’d like to try Tandoori chicken and lentil custard or baked bean biryani quiche!

I can see this series being very popular among the children in my class. Mina is a relatable, sassy heroine and her detective exploits will keep them guessing.

Rating: 💙💙💙💙

Suitable for children aged 6+

Thank you to Sweet Cherry Publishing for sending me this book to review.

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