An explosive and exciting mystery, Ashika Hira
Allan & Unwin
July 02, 2021
Nancy Business is R.W.R. McDonald’s second book, written in 2021 and published by Allen & Unwin, which takes us back to Riverstone, a small town just outside of Dunedin in New Zealand’s South Island. (Editor’s note: Read Ashika’s review of The Nancys)
Uncle Pike and Devon are back from Australia and they have bought number 4 Ronsdale Place, and are ready to renovate their holiday home. Tippy is on her holiday break and has been roped into becoming Devon’s P.A, helping them to finish off the house. Then in the wee hours of the morning she wakes up to a huge ground-shaking shock. Her first thought is an EARTHQUAKE!!! but it’s not that. The sky turns a dusty red and there is a huge mushroom of smoke above the town hall. Before they know it, The Nancys are back in business, investigating this new mystery.
School holidays have just started and Tippy couldn’t be happier. She gets to spend her time with her Uncle Pike and his boyfriend Devon, who have just bought a house in Riverstone and this will hopefully mean that they will be coming to New Zealand more often. But when a bomb is detonated, taking out a law firm and most of the town hall, killing three people and seriously injuring another, something doesn’t add up. The man who supposedly detonated the bomb, killing himself in the process, was a very kind and generous person. So then why did he do it? Tippy, Pike and Devon are on the case, but with drama happening between Pike and Devon, and Tippy facing some hidden truths, this is getting more complicated as the days go by.
Then a bomb threat comes in, adding a deadline to their investigation and extra pressure. The police aren’t taking it seriously but Tippy can’t stop seeing her mum on the bridge as it explodes. Tippy can’t lose her mum. She must dig deep to find out who the bomber really is and their motivation behind the destruction of the town and the people within it. Will Tippy, Pike and Devon be able to crack the case before any more lives are lost?
This is another one of McDonald’s humorous, heart-warming adventures, with so many unexpected twists and turns. McDonald’s use of humour is skilful and adds another layer to this book that I really enjoyed as it reduces a lot of the tension without diminishing the importance of those moments. I admire how McDonald is able to bring this mystery together, weaving all the clues, characters and drama into a magnificent story.
The further in you get, the more you start to see the bigger picture, but even once the book is over, it is only just starting to begin. Nancy Business leaves you on the edge of your seat and even though the ending is not expected, it’s what comes after that is really shocking.
- Ashika Hira is 15 years old and lives in Hastings.