[Book Review] The Orange Outlaw (A to Z Mysteries, #15) by Ron Roy

An art thief is on the loose! Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose are visiting Dink's Uncle Warren in New York City when a painting is stolen from his apartment. A trail of orange peels and an orange hair are the only signs that someone was there. DO the kids have enough clues to catch this crafty--and hungry--crook?

For The Orange Outlaw, Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose return to New York City for another visit with Dink's Uncle Warren (last seen in The Jaguar's Jewel). This time, they've arrived just in time for a local block party that's fundraising for the Central Park Zoo. Meanwhile, Uncle Warren is art-sitting a Monet for a vacationing friend.. and I'm sure we all know where this is going.

When the four of them return from the block party to find the Monet gone (and the fruit bowl ravaged), Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose are on the case. Roy gives his sleuths and his readers a handful of suspects in this one: Mrs. Booker, the building manager with "wild orange hair"; Roger, the doorman who was previously introduced in The Jaguar's Jewel; Mrs. Cornelius, an elderly former actress who lives in the apartment beneath Uncle Warren's and claims to have glimpsed the thief on her balcony; and...

Click to view spoiler!
...a trained orangutan!

Unusually for an A to Z Mysteries book, the kids consult the adults before barreling into the climactic sting operation, and they have the help of the police and a primate specialist. Ultimately, the culprit is sent to an orangutan sanctuary where he will be prepared to reenter the wild, and Polly the pony is adopted by the Pintos (making this the second pet Josh has inherited from criminals he's busted).

It's a cute story, though a little far-fetched, and it progresses the Green Lawn universe/canon forward a bit with the introduction of Polly. This is the first of the series that I didn't read as a child, but it still qualifies as a favorite, and I highly recommend it to youngsters interested in mysteries.

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