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Bitter Tastes    by V. B. Rosendahl order for
Bitter Tastes
by V. B. Rosendahl
Order:  USA  Can
Stargazer, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

A lot of mysteries for children deal with lost items and other non-violent crimes. While V. B. Rosendahl does keep any gore out of the story, her girl detectives solve a murder-mystery in Bitter Tastes.

Kathy Harmon moved to an island in North Carolina from New Jersey the summer before sixth grade. During that summer, she made one friend Janine McCallum, children's cooking instructor and owner of Janine's Restaurant. When Janine is murdered shortly before term starts, Kathy feels all alone, scared, and very self-conscious about starting a new school with a secret her left hand was disfigured in a childhood accident.

Kathy does not need to worry too much because she has an awesome teacher, Miss Fiddler, who is willing to help. Also the outgoing Martha Cunningham is determined to make friends with her, even if Martha has secrets of her own. Together, Kathy and Martha decide to solve the case of Miss Janine's murder, and hopefully not get themselves killed in the process.

Bitter Tastes is a good first-attempt at a mystery for children. The characters are all likeable and seem pretty realistic. The action is very fast-paced, but I do wish Rosendahl let the mystery stew longer because the identity of the murderer became obvious a little too soon. Everything is nicely wrapped up at the end.

Bitter Tastes is a mystery that younger readers will enjoy, and most likely devour in one sitting. V. B. Rosendahl has created two spunky girl detectives who I hope will find many more adventures in their island paradise.

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