Calder, Petra and Tommy (Chasing Vermeer, The Wright 3) are back with another puzzling art mystery. Now in 7th grade, the three go with their class to see an exhibit of Alexander Calder’s mobiles at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Shortly after the field trip, Calder and his Dad take a trip to England and stay in a tiny village well known for its giant garden maze. The maze is life-size, and easy to get lost in, like the maze in the last challenge in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. To Calder’s surprise, the village also has a newly installed Alexander Calder sculpture in the town square. Many people living in the village are angry about the new sculpture, some villagers even seem angry at Calder for sharing the artist’s name. The anger turns to fear, however, when the sculpture, and Calder, both disappear without a trace. Petra and Tommy are flown to England to try to help Calder’s dad and the police figure out what happened to Calder. Is he lost in the maze, or something worse? Try to solve the puzzle and find the clues with Tommy and Petra. The illustrator hid puzzles in the pictures again – see if you can solve those too! Author: Blue Balliett Illustrator: Brett Helquist
Xander and Xena Holmes are spending a year in London with their family. While the kids are sitting on the steps of their hotel, a stranger passes by, presses a paper into Xena’s hand and says, “it fades fast.” The paper says “…I speak for the whole Society for the Preservation of Famous Detectives (SPFD) when I say that we are thrilled beyond words to welcome you to England, the home of your ancestors.” The kids manage to read the rest of the note (which tells them about a meeting place and a password) before the ink fades and the paper is left blank.
Not kids to pass up a mystery, they head to the meeting place, a neighborhood pub, and take a chance revealing the password to a waitress. The waitress freezes, startled, and then leads the kids to a back room…and locks them in! What have they gotten themselves into? The locked room is really a doorway into the SPFD. The kids discover that Sherlock Holmes is their great-great-great grandfather and they are given a casebook of his unsolved cases. The cases are old, the book contains 100-year-old secrets. Are the mysteries too old to solve? Not for the descendents of Mr. Sherlock Holmes, the worlds greatest detective. Author: Tracy Barrett
And if you like this one, try #2: The Sherlock Files The Beast of Blackslope. In this one Xander and Xena are investigating a bigfoot kind of beast terrorizing a village again after being absent for several years. Why is the beast back?
In The Mystery of the Third Lucretia, Kari and Lucas use disguises during their surveillance so that their suspect will (hopefully) not notice them lurking around.
The girls are in London with Kari’s mom, a teen magazine journalist. They have tagged along to do some sightseeing but also stumble across an international art forgery mystery. I liked their story because they do a lot of legwork and piecing together clues – more like what I would expect a real detective to do. There are no fancy lab tests or expensive gadgets. These two use their brains, simple disguises, their listening skills, their memories and their instincts to solve the mystery.
Ryan is stuck at home recovering from a broken leg. This is his journal. Ryan is keeping the journal because something scary has happened and writing in the journal helps him deal with his lingering fear.
Despite the accident and the broken leg, Ryan and his best friend Sarah Fincher are determined to investigate the strange things that happen in their hometown of Skeleton Creek. The two friends have been forbidden to see each other – they get into too much trouble when they are together. But they find a way to keep in touch through secert e-mail messages.
Sarah is still out looking for clues. She sends Ryan video clips of her ongoing investigation. As you read Ryan’s journal, he tells you when Sarah has sent him a new video. He gives you the url and password you need to go on the internet and watch the video. (You can really do this – her videos are really there on the internet.) Sarah’s video clips are pretty creepy and Ryan sounds very scared in his journal. Going back and fourth between the book and the videos draws you in to their experience and why they feel so unsettled about what they have discovered.
Ryan and Sarah have uncovered something important in Skeleton Creek…and the adults don’t want to talk about it. Author: Patrick Carman Series: Skeleton Creek