The Plot Thickens and Danger Ahead by – R. A. Spratt

Random House Australia

2016 & 2017

Reviewed by  Sandra Nicholson

Synopsis: The Plot Thickens

Friday Barnes is being attacked on all fronts!

When Friday Barnes gets involved in her frenemy Ian Wainscott’s family dispute, it appears her knack for uncovering the truth may ruin their friendship once and for all.

Highcrest Academy is no longer a fun place to be. Ian has declared war on Friday and she is thinking of leaving…for good.  Meanwhile, there are two new teachers to contend with – a celebrity artist whose intentions are somewhat unclear, and an over-enthusiastic PE teacher on a fitness crusade.  Between them and Ian, it’s going to be one dangerous term.

Can Friday repair her friendship with Ian, restore her perfect school-life balance and work out who is committing the acts of vandalism around Highcrest? No one said high school would be easy!

Synopsis: Danger Ahead

School Camp…What could possibly go wrong.

Friday Barnes is forced to face her biggest fear – her own emotions!  She must wave goodbye to Ian as he takes off to join his father in the Cayman Islands.  But when your dad is a white-collar criminal, family reunions never go to plan.  Ian is kidnapped en route and it’s up to Friday to rescue him.

On her return to school, the Headmaster has a treat in store – a four-week camp for students to learn wilderness survival skills!

‘Camp Courage’ is even worse than Friday imagined.  And all her book smarts aren’t much help when she’s got wood to chop, potatoes to peel and latrines to dig.

Can Friday survive the great outdoors, debunk the legend of a camp ghost and make it back to Highcrest Academy alive?  Only time (and a compass) will tell!


Reviewer: Sandra Nicholson

R A Spratt won the Best Children’s Crime Novel category at the 2016 Davitt Awards for Friday Barnes series #2 book – Under Suspicion.  A well deserved award for a very well written book and series.


Books #5and #6 in the Friday Barnes series, intended for primary school age readers, are both fun and educational.  Entry to the series can be through any of the books.  Although they follow Year 7 of Friday Barnes life at Highcrest Academy (a boarding school), there are always new adventures and new crimes to solve.  Anyone in the target age group who loves adventure will love these books.  As we follow Friday’s journey through her days at school, there are always mysteries and/or crimes to be solved.


Friday is a highly intelligent 12 year-old who has difficulty in social situations but she is brilliant at maths.  In other words, she’s a nerd.  However, her friend Melanie is always there to help with honest feedback when Friday is struggling socially and Ian is there to rescue her when her crime solving puts her in physical danger.  They make a great team.  These books go through all the trials and tribulations that young people go through as they try to navigate their way through the world.  Friday admits that her emotional intelligence is very lacking and with the help of Melanie she is trying to understand humour, how to speak without appearing rude and many other aspects of life that come so easily to others.


I highly recommend these books to all young primary school children.  They will remember them in years to come as the reason they became interested in the crime genre.