In the twenty-first century Arthur Dunn is summoned to Australia to track down a runaway clone urgently needed to provide vital organ transplants for her parent, the superb actress Lady Kate.
This book is primarily a mystery story, narrated by our wry and clever Dunn, who would certainly qualify as a private detective in another story. There are all the classic mystery elements, a missing person, a number of possible suspects, clues and threats, even a wrap up reveal for the denouement. So, on one level, this is a fast paced mystery tale that will be easy for the 8 to 12 year old reader to access and understand. The one significant science fiction element is the clones, and this issue acts as the fulcrum of underpinning social themes of the book. Are clones people in their own right? Should they be made to die so that their creators can live longer? On this second level the theme is that of social justice and questioning our own attitudes towards people who are different, and who might not be recognized as people by society. It is not overly difficult to imagine what parallels can be drawn to current society issues. There's a happy ending for all involved, making this a satisfying read on either level-there's even a bit of romance.
The text is easy to read, with black and white illustrations added every so often to break up the text. This adds to the appeal of this book as a precursor to more complex reads in both genres, good for the reader who has graduated to chapter books, but may not be ready for lengthier novels. It provides a good story with compelling and likable characters and ample food for thought-especially as we actually begin to see cloning as a real possibility.
It may be difficult to find this book, as it was originally published in the early eighties, and is sadly out of print. But whether you are nostalgic reader returning to an old favorite or a new reader just discovering what SF and mysteries can offer, I definitely recommend checking it out if you can locate a copy. If you enjoy CLONE CATCHER, Slote's written a couple of SF/mystery books, including MY TRIP TO ALPHA I, and MY ROBOT BUDDY.
Happy Reading! ^_^ shanshad