Friday has said her farewells to Ian as he leaves for Italy. They’d made a pact to meet back at the airport in four years so they can have an adventure and solve another mystery together. But two years later, Friday is stepping out of prison, a shell of her former self.
The terms of her release explicitly state that she must abandon her PhD in Criminology and keep away from the field for twenty-five years. She’s hit a low-point in life and wants to desert everything and everyone she knew before her incarceration. Melanie and headmistress Dr Belcredi plead with her to go back to Highcrest Academy and regain some sense of normalcy. So, she does – but things are far from normal.
She rejects offers for a new scholarship and a two-week Italian field trip. She might still be wearing the same brown cardigan, but she swears she’s never solving mysteries again. Yeah right – who’s she kidding? You can’t keep a racehorse in a broom closet! Friday can’t supress her brilliant deductive mind and is soon drawn back into the intrigues and mystery of Highcrest Academy.
Uncle Bernie, who lives in Italy, calls with an urgent work hitch and desperately needs Friday’s help. He’s mysterious about its urgency, and insists on buying her a ticket to Italy for the Academy’s field trip so no one suspects she’s going there to help him. On arrival, Uncle Bernie explains that he needs Friday to help him protect the Uffizi Galleries from a team of art-thieves – and she can’t say ‘no’ to family. Even if it means travelling to the city where Ian, her ‘ex-boyfrenemy’ (in the words of Friday) is living.
Friday Barnes 9: No Escape seamlessly continues Friday’s fabulous mysterious journeys. While her adventures in the past eight books highlight her intellect and high-level sleuthing, this instalment focuses more on her need to accept help. By visiting Highcrest Academy’s counsellor, author R.A. Spratt highlights to young readers the reality of low-points in life, and the importance of reaching out for help. It’s an excellent direction for the series.
This book will leave long-time fans and new readers aged 9+ in a state of anticipation. Will Friday be able to protect Italy’s finest artworks? Will Melanie stay awake long enough to help her? And will Ian still be as gorgeous as a Greek god and twice as annoying? These are just some of the many questions young readers will have while they’re on the edge of their seat, devouring this page-turner.