Posts tagged ‘detective’

JUGGLING THE NUMBERS

The Math Inspectors: Story One-The Case of the Claymore Diamond

Written by Daniel Kenny and Emily Boever

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Clever, humorous and well-written detective mystery targeted for late elementary and middle school readers. I must admit the plot kept me guessing and entertained. Chapters are short and easy to read. Pencil sketches are an added bonus. I particularly enjoyed the way that the authors found a way to integrate those dreaded hard to solve math word problems right into the story line. As a bonus, the reader is presented with a few more problems to solve at the conclusion of the mystery. They can check their answers on the authors’ website.

Felix, Gertie, Stanley and Charlotte are a bright group of sixth graders who become interested in forming a detective agency. Using Felix’s tree house as a base of operations, Felix attempts to find out who is stealing his food from the kitchen by using his binoculars. When Charlotte brings a police scanner up to the house, they hear about an armed robbery at the local jewelry store. The budding detectives rush to the scene. They discover the owner Mr. Franklin has been hit on the head and his most valuable possession, the Claymore diamond, has been stolen. Police apprehend a suspect quickly, and the case appears closed. Our four young detectives believe otherwise; they refuse to quit until what had appeared obvious is revealed as erroneous.

Lots of twists and turns in the plot. The characters are believable and authentic middle grade students. Readers will find themselves enjoying the math challenges that come along with the case. Great way to get students involved with math while reading. Look forward to reading new books in the series as they are released.

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MYSTICS AND MAYHEM

Three Squared (Metaphysical Murder Mysteries)

Written by Koko Nervelli

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This is the first book in a series featuring Madame Melancholy Marie, a psychic reader. She has recently relocated to the North Carolina coast after living through the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the disappearance of her fiancee, Marcel, in her home town of New Orleans. The protagonist known as Mel to her friends, is struggling to adjust to life in a rural community suspicious of her because she is different. Together with her mystic cat named Sammy, she meets a client named Sarah Miller, who comes to her to solve the mysterious death of her husband in a strange motorcycle accident and her son’s unexplained death in Afghanistan. Weird things begin to happen including a mysterious dark fog, nightly dreams, and the numbers 4,3,2 popping up together.

Mel calls on two of her psychic friends for assistance. Linda has remained in New Orleans, while Isabella has moved on to an exciting life in New York City. Linda begins by making an astrology time-line chart. Isabella comes down to visit Mel and study the dark energy that has been surrounding her. Mel uses her mathematical skills to figure out all this information as Isabella takes over the interviewing with Sarah. Meanwhile Linda has been investigating by using her psychic contacts in New Orleans. She has discovered that Sarah’s daughter-in-law might be involved with the High Priest Zuu-Zuu who is known on the island of Jamaica and world-wide as a voo-doo priest obsessed with money. Soon after, Mel disappears. Isabella and Linda continue to piece together the puzzle in a desperate attempt to track down their friend and unravel the mystery. Their adventures will lead them on a wild journey filled with terror, dark spirits, magic and fantasy. Will they be successful in rescuing Mel, solving the crimes and eliminating the other-worldly dangers?

This is not the type of book I normally read. It combines murder, mystery, paranormal, magic and fantasy. Nervelli does a superb job of delineating full-bodied rich characters that will draw the reader into the struggle. There are lots of twists and turns. At times I did feel there was a bit too much detail and a slowing down in the story line pushing the limits of what the reader might believe acceptable even in a fantasy story. But this element as well as the strong characters are exactly what many young adult readers will enjoy. So if mystery and paranormal are two of your favorite genres, this book is your cup of tea. Characters will be further developed and enhanced in the rest of the series.

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PARANORMAL PRIVATE EYES

 

Ghost Memory (A Thulukan Chronicles Story) #1

Written by Maer Wilson

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Maer Wilson is a talented writer who generally focuses on middle grade and young adult fiction. This short novella is a fine example of her talent. The plot is told from the point of view of Fiona (Fi) who is a budding young detective about to finish college. She is ready to launch an agency with her fiance, Thulu. There is one strange thing about their business; their business will be involved strictly with clients who have already died. Together Fi and Thulu are able to see and communicate with the dead. Thulu and Fi met at the age of ten shortly after Fi’s parents were killed in an accident.

At the outset the reader is introduced to Fi when she breaks the nose of a student in karate class. She feels badly, but soon perks up when she sees a “client” outside her door. Peter Swanson engages her to find the money he has hidden in his former home for his husband, Donovan. The next day, the two sleuths visit Donovan at home, while Peter assists Thulu in finding the money. They discover that some of it is missing. Fi and Thulu use their detective skills to solve the mystery and convince the thief, by some rather unconventional methods, to return the money to Donovan.

Wilson is an excellent writer. She weaves the plot skillfully and manages to delineate her characters’ personalities in the span of a few pages. The reader develops an affinity for them as well as an appetite for learning more about them and their adventures. Wilson gives the readers a taste of what is to come in Relics at the end of her e book. I believe most readers will want to continue reading about these characters in this series. This book would be appropriate for teen readers as well as adults. Whether or not you enjoy paranormal works, I think you will want to look at this series.

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THERE IS A WAY OUT

No Exit: The Apple Grove Gang Vol.1

Written  by Hamilton C. Burger

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This is the first in a series of books about the Apple Grove Gang. The mystery adventure tale chronicles a group of friends who live in a small town forty or fifty years ago when children played outside and teamed together to solve common problems. The two main characters named Benny and Bug are about to begin summer vacation when they make a startling discovery. Not only is Exit 23 on the toll highway about to be closed, but this major loss of town revenue will force the closing of the community center where the local kids hang out. So the gang becomes determined to get to the bottom of this issue by sneaking into the mayor’s office to get the lowdown. But the mayor refuses to listen, and nothing seems to add up. Together with the help of a few adults, the gang use their detective skills to get the answers they need, finding many surprises along the way.

The characters are well developed and the story line moves along quickly in this book of approximately one hundred twenty five pages. The written dialogue is age appropriate with just the right amount of conversation and background description. Readers are given an authentic glimpse of small town life and local politics. However, in this story, the children come up with the solutions. Lessons of friendship and community loyalty are well developed.

This tale is a quick read for tweens and teens. Older adults will love the nostalgia and feel good vibes. Members of this gang are not into themselves and stand together as friends who need to make a wrong right. Nothing complicated here, just a story that will appeal to both girls and boys empowering them to believe they can also be problem solvers. A few more illustrations of  action scenes in the book might make the read more appealing to younger readers. This is a perfect lazy afternoon read and the quick pace encourages reluctant readers. At the end of the book, there is a bonus chapter introducing Gold Fever, the second adventure in the Apple Grove series.

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