by Robyn Roste/Special to Langley Advance Times
Local sleuths Lou and Rocky are back with an even bigger mystery to solve in their hometown of Squamish in Lou and the Carnival Cold Case.
In this exciting middle grade fiction read, teenager Lou hears about a suspicious death at a travelling carnival.
Even though the case has gone cold, she is convinced there’s more to the story than people are letting on. Now, with the carnival returning to town Lou and her friends work to gather clues to discover the truth.
“The scenery in Squamish just begs for you to talk about it,” said author Inga Kruse who moved to British Columbia from Montreal more than 20 years ago.
She wanted her mysteries to take place in a small town where nothing goes unnoticed, including people passing through with possibly malicious intent.
Squamish provided the perfect backdrop.
This is the Murrayville resident’s second book in The Squamish Mysteries series and while they can be read independently, both books share the same world and cast of characters.
Lou is 15-years-old when she moves to Squamish with her family and clumsy dog, Rocky.
She befriends Oliver, who is in a wheelchair, and together they solve mysteries.
“Lou does her research and has a good sniffer for when something’s wrong,” Kruse said.
“One of the things I like to do is have a unique character. In Lou’s world, she makes her own spy gear and always wears her big boots. She’s a free spirit in some ways, but also a good kid.”
A voracious reader herself, Kruse grew up reading Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries, and believes kids need a little bit of sleuthing in their lives.
The stories are fun but also contain some teaching, without being too obvious, said the author.
Some of the lessons include how to deal with the temptation to lie, how to make room for people who are different from you, and how to treat others with kindness – even if you don’t understand their behaviour.
After Kruse’s first book, Lou and the Whale of a Crime was released, it was clear Rocky was the star character.
“There’s no question that my readers love Rocky,” she said. “He’s an actual compilation of every big dog we’ve ever had. All his funny tricks are one either our Great Dane, doberman or mastiff did at one point.”
While Rocky is based on several different dogs, illustrator Trevor Watson brings him to life through intricate drawings.
“My illustrator is astonishing. He drew over 60 illustrations for my two books and every chapter has an illustration in front of it. They’re so detailed and not cookie cutter. They’re custom-designed illustrations that give you a little clue as to what’s coming up,” she said.
Kruse’s favourite drawing in Lou and the Carnival Cold Case features Lou driving a dirt bike with Rocky sitting in the sidecar.
Both books from The Squamish Mysteries series are available for purchase at Porters Bistro in Langley, as well as through Amazon.
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