The Wonderland references were disappointingly superficial, but otherwise this was a fine mystery about a young girl connected by happenstance to a murder investigation.
Thirteen-year-old Ingrid is afraid of being late for soccer practice, so she unwisely decides to walk from her orthodontist's office to the field, not knowing what a crappy part of town she'll be passing through. "Cracked-up Katie" notices her, and brings her into her house so that she can call the girl a taxi. That night Ingrid hears on the news that Katie has been killed -- and realizes that she has left her distinctive red Puma cleats at the victim's house. She sneaks out in the middle of the night to retrieve them, and happens to be there at the same time that someone else is sneaking in to steal a playbill of "Dial M for Murder" from Katie's youthful acting days. When the police arrest two drunken neighbors of Katie's, Ingrid is the only one who knows they weren't the ones who broke in, but she doesn't want to confess to being there herself. She decides to investigate on her own, and ends up being drawn into the old secrets of the town's prominent families.
At the same time, Ingrid has to cope with normal life: family disagreements, unfair teachers, first romance, community theater, a new dog, sports. I thought the strongest aspect of the book was Abrahams' depiction of the confusions and stresses of this age, and the ways in which they are often misunderstood or underestimated by adults. The weakest element was the initial plot point of Ingrid not calling -- and in fact lying to -- the police in the first place. Aren't upper middle class suburban white folks usually pretty trusting of the cops? Plus Ingrid is friends with the investigating detective's son, which I would think would make it easier to confess, rather than harder as depicted in the story. But, I guess one advantage of having a juvenile protagonist is that you can get away with having them show some poor judgment.
Experienced mystery lovers may be a little disappointed; I found the murderer pretty easy to guess and didn't find any surprises in the plot. Still, a fun read overall. Not rushing to pick up more by this author, though.