Agent Zaiba Investigates: The Missing Diamonds by Annabelle Sami (Illustrated by Daniela Sosa)
Publication Date: February 6th, 2020
AGENT ZAIBA INVESTIGATES is a fun, contemporary new series for fans of The Sinclair’s Mysteries and the Murder Most Unladylike books.
Eleven-year-old Zaiba is obsessed with crime. Her Aunt Fouzia runs a detective agency back in Karachi and has turned Zaiba on to the brilliant Eden Lockett Mysteries. She has every book in the series – and the quilt cover, and the phone case. All she needs now is a crime to solve…
In book one, Zaiba is attending a family Mehndi party at The Grand Royal Star Hotel when she hears that the prized Italian Greyhound of a famous actress has gone missing from the star’s suite. With the help of her best friend and her little brother, the amateur sleuth manages to foil the petnapping plot and save the day.
Thanks to netgalley for this e-ARC. This does not impact my review which is honest and unbiased.
First of all let me just say that it’s so refreshing to see a middle grade novel with a very obvious desi lead. Look at little Zaiba in that cute shalwaar khamis! SO. CUTE. I wish I had had something like this is a kid, especially because for a long time I really did want to be a spy!
I read this during exam season so even though normally I would have devoured this book within a day, this took a very long time. This doesn’t change the fact that I enjoyed every single moment of this book. Zaiba is so enthusiastic and likes to take charge (ha, relatable!). Her little notebook where she writes down information and hunts for clues is super cute and I love the interactive style that this book had. It wasn’t like Dora where questions were posed for the reader, but the way the mystery was laid out and the notes were written added a fun element that I know young readers would definitely enjoy!
Of course, the mystery was really cute and intriguing, but I really enjoyed getting to see Zaiba with her brother and her friend. I loved how she encourages them to also find clues and learns from them too. It was also really nice to see that Zaiba loved the Eden Lockett mystery novels because of her mom (and the books also bring her closer to her aunt).
The art in the book was also really cute and fun! I loved the chapter borders and all the art featuring the characters as they solved the mystery.
I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of a lighthearted mystery, very enthusiastic fangirls, secret staircases, mazes, dancing at weddings, and very enthusiastic adorable dogs! It was like Cam Jansen meets Scooby Doo! This has great desi rep and I loved the bits of desi culture interspersed throughout the book!