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The Red Coat - A Sophie Collins Mystery by Madge H. Gressley

Front cover of The Red Coat: A Sophie Collins Mystery by Madge H. Gressley. Reviewed by On My Kindle Book Reviews

Source: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: YA, mystery
Format: eBook, Print
Number of Pages: 93
Publication Date: May 31, 2014


Sophie Collins is not just another soppy, teenage sleuth. Raw and gutsy, this street-wise, self-determined gal, depends on no one.

Left to her own devices at fourteen when her mother disappears, and believing she has no family, she tries to make things work on her own, but old lady Crabtree, at her school, turns Sophie’s life upside down when she reports her to Family Services.

Escaping the foster home in Trenton, Sophie takes out on her own, and slowly makes her way to her mother’s hometown of Tuck Point Falls. Suspense builds, as Sophie finds herself drawn into a murder mystery, when she finds a red coat in Johnson’s Department Store's dumpster.

In this cliff-hanging, thrilling, action-packed murder mystery, Sophie finds the evidence that puts the murderers behind bars and solves the mystery of who she is.


After finding a discarded coat in the dumpster with a mysterious object in one of its pockets, Sophie is accosted by the coat's former owner. Keeping the object she found in the coat's pocket, Sophie reluctantly returns the coat to its former owner; not realizing that the mysterious object is the key to solving a murder mystery.

Sophie is certainly not Nancy Drew! Having learned some lessons while living on the streets, our edgy and bright protagonist is shrewd and rough around the edges. In many of the YA sleuth novels that I have read in the past, the ethical decisions that the protagonists encounter are pretty clear cut; they are good, or bad.

The Red Coat is a bit different. Sophie's ethics are centered in the gray area; she's a good kid, but she sometimes makes decisions that push the limits on what is considered to be ethical. I like this because it makes her more realistic as most teens tend to test the limits of ethical and unethical behavior.

There are some other interesting characters that play important roles in helping Sophie to solve the mystery. It is apparent that Gressley chose to focus more on developing Sophie's character than on the setting and other characters, but she describes the other characters and setting in enough detail to keep the story relevant and interesting. I feel that if she had developed the setting and other characters further, it would have made for a lengthy novel that her target audience would likely abandon.

I really enjoyed reading The Red Coat. It strays from the typical goody-goody, know-it-all young sleuth novel to provide readers with a realistic, unique, and likeable protagonist. If you are an adult who misses reading Nancy Drew, or your pre-teen/younger teen is looking for an enjoyable mystery read; I recommend that you grab a copy of The Red Coat by Madge Gressley.

About the Madge H. Gressley

Madge H. Gressley, author.
Courtesy of

Madge Gressley lives in Missouri with her granddaughter and two dogs. She started her writing career in 2013 when she traded her brushes, paints, and canvases for pen and paper but, in this case--computer and keyboard. She works from home and squeezes writing in between jobs for her graphic design business and letting the dogs in and out--a full-time job in itself.

Find out more about Madge H. Gressley, The Red Coat, and her other works online by visiting:
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