From School Library Journal
Grade 3-5-- This third mystery involving Susannah Higgins is brimming with action. Here, she and her detectives Lucy and Knievel decide to find out why someone is setting fire to Miss Quigley's house. They jump to the conclusion that it must be Theresa, the woman's new foster daughter. In the second grade Theresa was whisked away by the principal after the playground shed was set afire. Now she is back and attending sixth grade with the detectives. A purple mongoose also plays an integral part in the plot. This tale incorporates lots of humor and suspense right up to the end, and many readers will be able to identify with the characters, who belong to nontraditional families. Also, the intergenerational friendships are well handled. However, the development of the secondary players is somewhat confusing, and children may have difficulty sorting them out. Fans of the previous books about Susannah are the most likely audience for this book. --Suzanne Lippencott, Nichols Lib . , Naperville, IL
From Kirkus Reviews
Third in a series of mysteries solved by a multiethnic trio of sixth-grade detectives in Oakland, California. Master sleuth Susannah, her friend Lucy (the ``Dr. Watson'' character, also the narrator), and their partner Knievel investigate a series of mysterious fires in a neighborhood where properties are being bought up by a development company. Multiple suspects, lots of clues (including the purple Mongoose of the title, which turns out to be a kind of bicycle), and real suspense at the end, when the kids are trapped on the roof of a burning house, make for a satisfying, if somewhat formulaic, page-turner. The one false note is the villain, who seems too sympathetic a character to be capable of the potentially deadly crime of arson. The jacket painting shows Susannah as African-American; other illustrations not seen.