Bad News for Milk Bay, by Moya Simons

‘Hey, I run a detective agency. I can be left alone,’ I said.
We were eating breakfast. Mum sprinkled sugar over her cornflakes. ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘you run a detective agency; and yes, you’ve been alone before; and no, you’re not staying home this time’ and yes, you’re going with Dad to the protest rally at the council chambers; and no, don’t look at me that way. It will be a very educational experience.’
‘I get enough education at school. I have plans. I want to update my detective notebook tonight.’
‘Well, bring your notebook along with you. As a detective I think you’ll be very interested,’ Dad said.
I felt a slight prickle of interest, like a flea was drawing blood from my brain.

Milk Bay is a small town where a lot seems to happen. Thank goodness it is home to the Walk Right In Detective Agency where David and his partner Bernice solve mysteries big and small. Sometimes the mysteries find them, sometimes they see mystery others miss. In this fourth instalment of the series, David and Bernice are experiencing a bit of a slump. Business is slow and supplies are low. Little does David expect that being forced to go to a protest rally will not only see he and Bernice on opposite sides as the Mayor talks about the most exciting potential development Milk Bay has ever seen. Half the town seem to be for the development, half against. David’s infallible nose senses ‘there’s mischief afoot’. He’s keen to investigate, but first there’s the matter of Flick’s grandmother’s ring. And paying jobs should come first.

Bad News for Milk Bay is told in mostly in first person, with main character, David’s, detective observations dispersed through the text. It’s almost as if he’s channelling some long-gone gumshoe. His observations are funny, and follow the edict that no detail is too small or trivial to be overlooked. Bad News for Milk Bay opens with pages from David’s note book which detail the highs and lows of the detective business. But although the style is humourous and some of their cases are easily solved, others are more serious. As with previous titles in this series, the main plot explores a big issue. This time it’s development, specifically the plan to turn Horatio Brown’s lovely and loved farm into a whiz-bang, you-beaut tourist precinct. Milk Bay is lucky to have David and Bernice, and dodgy sorts everywhere ought be on alert.

Recommended for middle primary.

Bad News for Milk Bay (Walk Right in Detective Agency)

WRIDA 4 Bad News for Milk Bay, Moya Simons Walker Books 2009
ISBN: 9781921150760

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