Kat & Mouse: The Knave of Diamonds

Kat & Mouse 4: The Knave of Diamonds

It’s here! It’s here! The conclusion to the Kat & Mouse mystery started two years ago by Alex de Campi and Federica Manfredi!

When we left our intrepid heroines, they were at the winter dance, where Chloe, the school princess, was wearing her mother’s diamond necklace without permission. When it was stolen, Chloe turned to Mouse and Kat for help, even though Kat had just been humiliated for wearing Chloe’s dress from last year. Finding the thief will mean catching the Artful Dodger, the criminal who’s been bedeviling the school throughout the series.

Kat & Mouse 4: The Knave of Diamonds

Now, in The Knave of Diamonds, all the mysteries are brought to conclusion. Chloe redeems herself, the thief is caught, and the mysterious teacher is revealed. Plus, Ruth, who’s collapsed after starvation dieting for the dance, is given a much-needed talking to by a surprising character. I was waiting for the lecture on not buying into artificial stereotypes of beauty, but the approach writer Alex de Campi takes is refreshing and more likely to be listened to.

I love these characters and situation because de Campi has such a wonderful grasp on how teens act. No one cares that Kat is playing Nancy Drew; while she’s searching the garbage (with teeth gritted and eyes averted), the popular jock sees it as another opportunity to pick on the geek girls. de Campi is ably supported by Federica Manfredi, whose art is a pleasure to watch, no matter what the cast is doing. The characters have such presence and realistic emotional reaction. I especially appreciated how she drew Ruth as skinny, but she also captured the hollow eyes, unattractively prominent collarbones, and general air of weakness that comes along with crash dieting.

The book is available now, or in November through Diamond-supplied comic shops. The release was rushed in order to prevent the rights from reverting to the author. It’s a shame that such a terrific little story was hamstrung by being pushed into an unsupported format, but selfishly, I’m glad I got to read the ending. I’m just disappointed there won’t be any more mysteries with these great characters.

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