Title: Framed & Dangerous
Series: Sleuth or Dare
Author: Kim Harrington
Published: Scholastic, July 2012
Purchased: Downloaded my copy from Amazon.com
Who’s the culprit?
Norah and Darcy are still in a fight, but crime doesn’t stop just because the girls aren’t speaking. Someone has set fire to their school’s brand-new field house. And the prime suspect is Zane Munro, the cute boy Norah can’t help crushing on.
When Zane asks Partners in Crime for help, Norah and Darcy must band together to investigate. Norah knows Zane is innocent, but the clues are not in his favor. Can she and Darcy mend their friendship, crack the case, and clear Zane’s name before it’s too late?
This is the third book in the Sleuth or Dare series. I enjoyed reading the first two books: Partners in Crime and Sleepover Stakeout. So, I was happy to get my hands on this one when it was released on July 1.
Norah and Darcy have been best friends since fourth grade. Unfortunately, miscommunications happened and their friendship has gone shaky. Framed & Dangerous begins with Norah feeling really sad and bad about the things that she had retorted when she was fighting with Darcy. After sobbing and feeling miserable for the entire weekend, Norah wakes up and walks to school alone. When she reaches school, she’s shocked to find out that the brand-new field house is burning. Although Norah sees Darcy walking around, she is upset because Darcy seems to be deliberately avoiding her. So, when Zane Munro, the boy Norah is crushing on, asks ‘Partners in Crime’ for help with a detective case, Norah is a bit uncertain because she doesn’t know if she can help to resolve the situation without Darcy’s help. But when Zane becomes the prime suspect of the fire incident, Norah knows she has no choice but to seek all the help that she can find, and this means she must convince Darcy to work with her and investigate the case together.
In this story, I really like the way how Norah chooses to approach her weakness in communication skills. Instead of hiding behind her nervousness, she chooses to value her quick-thinking and pay attention to how she can express what she thinks in a clear and sincere manner. Although she cannot control how others interpret what she has said, she takes ownership of what she can do and works on calming her fright so that she can stay focused on communicating what she has to say even at times when she is being confronted. It’s really wonderful to see how Norah evolves as she works past her discomfort in social gatherings and allows her wanting to help people to guide her to become a better communicator.
Darcy is still as witty, perceptive, smart and somewhat snarky as she has always been throughout the series. It’s a joy to watch her wear her detective hat and throw out wonderful ideas as she helps to investigate and work on resolving Zane’s case!
Personally, I find it a little shocking as I learn why the arsonist chooses to do something menacing at the first place. Although the way how this case is being solved is fairly predictable, I wonder what type of upbringing the arsonist must have been through to make it seem okay to act so irresponsibly and irrationally.
This is the last book in the Sleuth or Dare series. Fans of Partners in Crime would surely want to pick this one up to find out more on what’s happening with the other characters, like the popular Fiona, the shy Maya and the not-so-popular Hunter.
If you’re looking for a mystery that is non-horrifying, you’d find Framed & Dangerous fairly non-creepy and heartwarmingly amusing. The Sleuth or Dare series would undoubtedly be a welcoming addition to the bookshelves of those who love middle-grade novels.