A little bit of mystery in life can be entertaining, but perhaps not when it has the chance to harm your life. Paul Moxham’s The Mystery of Smugglers Cove follows a group of four children as they explore the beach around their home and stumble into a criminal money laundering scheme.
Joe and his sisters Amy and Sarah meet Will and go exploring around town and along the beach. One the beach, Will tells Joe and his sisters about Smuggler’s Cove and the tunnels that lead up to a house. While exploring the tunnels and finding a stash room, the group observes and overhears plans of some criminals to run some goods during the night to France and cash in but can they stop the criminals from getting away with it?
As a middle grade novel, this premise works (particularly as it’s reminiscent of narratives of the Hardy Boys or the Boxcar Children series); however, much of the story becomes implausible with the actions that the children are taking in stopping a nefarious money laundering scheme, not to mention that the involvement of Mr. Spencer, Will’s dad, goes against middle grade convention of limited parental involvement.
Overall, I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars.