[Book Review] Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the Stolen Diamonds (Cam Jansen Mysteries #1) by David A. Adler


Can Cam’s photographic memory frame the jewel thieves?

When a jewelry store is robbed, Cam and Eric have to act fast to catch the crook. Cam knows that the police have the wrong man. How can she find the thief--before it’s too late?

Before A to Z Mysteries, before Jigsaw Jones, before Geronimo Stilton and so many of the other "mysteries for kids" series, there was Cam Jansen, the girl with the "photographic memory". Now, regardless of whether such memory recall abilities are authentic in real life, Cam Jansen definitely has a gift; when she sees something, she need only concentrate and say "Click!" to commit the scene to her memory for perfect recall at a later date. And that is certainly a spectacular crime-solving ability.

In Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the Jewel Thieves, we meet Jennifer Jansen herself, better known as "Cam" because of her absurd memory. Obviously, she runs into some jewel thieves, and, contrary to what the ludicrously poor word choice on the back cover blurb (above) states, she catches them with the help of her friend, Eric. (Framing them, of course, is a different thing entirely. I get it's a pun, but... No, dude. Just no.)

Note that the typical kidlit mystery tropes apply: Cam and Eric put themselves--not to mention Eric's baby sister!--in ridiculous levels of danger to solve a mystery that the police are already working on, the parents take "free range children" to a whole new level, and the children demonstrate quite a bit more competence and maturity than is expected of kids their age. If you're looking for trope-busting, this isn't the series for you.

But it's still a good mystery for a young reader. Fans of the other series I've mentioned above should enjoy it, as should fans of the child-aimed Nancy Drew books, the Calendar Mysteries series, the Capital Mysteries series, etcetera, etcetera.

And, of course, don't be surprised to see your son or daughter start playing memory games of his or her own after seeing Cam Jansen's amazing recall. Should your kid become a fan, you can probably expect to have a few "Click!"s in your own future.

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