The Deadly Daylight

­Holiday House. Mar. 2024. 272p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823455621.
Gr 4-6–Alice, almost 13, loves dinosaurs, gathering (but not collecting) items from the beach, and helping her father prepare corpses at the funeral home where they live and work. What truly sets Alice apart is her ability to connect with the memories of the departed through objects she calls “resonant.” This gift comes in handy when her new friend Violet’s uncle dies in a series of “unfortunate accidents” that Alice suspects was ultimately murder. Violet and her family share a life-threatening allergy to sunlight, acting as the central force of the plot. Alice uses her curiosity and ability to read people to solve the mystery with the help of her friends Violet and Cal. While the story does not shy away from morbid subjects, Alice’s matter-of-fact nature and inability to be anything other than her authentic self balance the macabre plot. The side characters are quirky and lovable, adding a layer to the story as Alice learns how important yet difficult friendship can be. The mystery itself is satisfying, with plenty of twists to keep readers guessing until the end, but also enough hints being dropped for would-be detectives to try to solve it themselves. Alice is presented as light-skinned with red hair, and Violet is depicted with very pale skin and blond hair.
VERDICT Simultaneously wholesome and somewhat ghoulish, this murder mystery is fun for children seeking an eccentric detective novel.

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