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The Sweetest Heist in History

Illustrated by Vivienne To



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About The Book

A hard-to-prove art heist makes a New York City mystery for ninja detective Randi Rhodes in this second book in a series full of humor, adventure, and heart from Academy Award–winning actress Octavia Spencer.

Randi Rhodes and her fellow ninja detectives, DC and Pudge, were flying high after solving the Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit. But life in sleepy Deer Creek has begun to feel…a bit boring. There are no crimes to investigate! But a trip to New York City to visit Randi’s aunt changes that! While the ninja detective trio explores Randi’s old neighborhood in Brooklyn, they uncover an art heist. Except no one will believe them. So they’ll just have to catch the criminals in the act...


The Sweetest Heist in History CHAPTER ONE THE HEIST
Randi Rhodes pressed a button on her walkie-talkie and whispered into the receiver, “Target is approaching from due south, heading in the direction of the Deer Creek Bank. Ninja Two, can you make a visual ID?”

“Negative, Ninja One,” came D.C. Cruz’s hushed reply. “Target is wearing a hat and sunglasses. And how ’bout that—sparkly purple sneakers. Looks like a female to me.”

Randi ran through a list of suspects in her head. None of them would be caught dead in purple sneakers. The shoes had to be part of the thief’s disguise.

“This is Ninja Three. Target just entered the alley next to the bank,” Pudge Taylor reported.

“Let’s give her a minute and then move in at exactly”—Randi checked the watch on her wrist. She never allowed cell phones on stakeouts. They had a way of ringing or lighting up at the very worst moments. So the three ninjas wore watches, and their timepieces were perfectly synchronized—“six fifty-two,” she ordered.

“Roger that,” her colleagues replied in unison.

Randi took the opportunity to check Founders’ Square for other signs of activity. It was a flat, grassy park in the center of sleepy Deer Creek, Tennessee. In the fall and winter, when the tourists who came to Deer Creek for the fishing were gone, the stores surrounding the square closed up early. That night in Founders’ Square, only the bakery was still serving customers. There was no one in the park who might interfere with the ninjas’ operation.

Randi sat back on her haunches and grinned. Dressed in black from head to toe, she was all but invisible in the dark. Anyone strolling through Founders’ Square would never have spotted her crouched behind the monument in the center of the park. Her pulse was racing, and despite the chill in the air, her palms were sweating. Randi hadn’t felt so alive since the previous summer, when the ninja detectives had solved their first case together.

That’s right, she thought. Let’s show them that the last case wasn’t a fluke. The world’s greatest crime-fighting team lives right here in the middle of nowhere. And we’re not going to let this town forget it.

~ ~ ~ ~

It had been five months since Randi and her father had sold their house in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to Deer Creek, Tennessee. Her first summer in the mountains had been unexpectedly thrilling. Randi had made two new best friends, formed the crime-fighting Ninja Detectives Club, and solved the Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit. But the excitement had come to an abrupt end with the start of school. Since August, she and her fellow ninja detectives, D.C. Cruz and Pudge Taylor, had been forced to take a series of second-rate cases. In September, they’d wrangled a rogue opossum that was terrorizing the sheriff’s pet chickens. Then they’d collared a third-grade graffiti artist who enjoyed drawing unflattering portraits of fifth graders on the bathroom stalls at school. At the end of October, Randi and her team had investigated a series of jack-o’-lantern squashings. That case had seemed quite promising at first. Randi had hoped that the vandalism might be the work of teenage thugs or Halloween haters. But the culprit had turned out to be an ordinary bear that had wandered out of the woods one night with a hankering for half-rotten pumpkin.

About The Author

Photograph (c) Randee St. Nicholas

A veteran character actress and one of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents, Octavia Spencer has become a familiar fixture on both television and silver screen. Her critically acclaimed performance as Minny in the DreamWorks feature film The Help won her a 2012 Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, a SAG Award, and a Broadcast Film Critics’ Choice Award, among countless other honors. Octavia is a native of Montgomery, Alabama, and holds a BS in Liberal Arts from Auburn University. She lives in Los Angeles. Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit was her first novel.

About The Illustrator

Vivienne To has illustrated several books, including The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins and the Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective series by Octavia Spencer. As a child, she had two pet mice escape. She currently lives in Sydney, Australia, with her partner and her ginger cat. Visit her at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (March 31, 2015)
  • Length: 224 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781442476844
  • Grades: 3 - 7
  • Ages: 8 - 12
  • Lexile ® 680L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

this novel will keep young readers guessing...readers will appreciate Randi’s determination to make a difference. A quick read about a girl sleuth whose fiery determination will leave readers wanting Book 2.

– Kirkus Reviews, on The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit

An entertaining, suspenseful read.

– Booklist, on The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit

A host of quirky supporting characters provide warmth in this cozy little mystery while Randi herself is eminently likable, an appealing mixture of bravado and vulnerability as she tries to crack the case, negotiate her relationship with her dad, and come to terms with her mother’s recent death. Academy Award–winner-turned-author Spencer lays out an inviting mystery perfectly suited for younger readers.

– Bulletin, on The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit

Spencer has created a clever mystery ....Providing a list of ninja tasks at the end of the book, she may make heroes of us all.

– Booklist Online

Good sleuthing fun.

– Kirkus Reviews

This book will satiate any young detective’s thirst for mystery.

– School Library Journal

Awards and Honors

  • Alabama Author's Award

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More books from this illustrator: Vivienne To

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