Chet Gecko, 4th grade lizard private eye, can’t resist a mystery. He asks questions wherever he goes. “…if Number 2 pencils are so popular why are they still Number 2?” But on this day, a mystery lands at his feet where he least expects it, in his school library. The school principal and a mysterious Russian guest unveil an amazing machine, the Bibliomalgamator that will do all the work in the library. Tell it what you like to read and the machine spits out a book right into your hands. This means Chet’s favorite teacher, the school librarian Cool Beans, is out of a job. Then things really get weird when the class teacher’s pet starts disrupting class and shouting things like “Make Me, Teach!” Kindergartners are beating up sixth graders and Chet’s best friend suddenly won’t talk to him anymore. There are too many mysteries to count, but as always, Chet is on the case. Author: Bruce Hale
Frank and Joe Hardy are mystery solving brothers that always have each other’s backs. They don’t fight much but complement each other as they sort out clues after stumbling upon one mystery after another. It helps to have a detective for a Dad! You can read a whole bunch of Hardy Boys books and you can even read them now in a new graphic novel series.
Gilda knows how to maneuver her way into just the experience she wants. This time, she’s fudged on her age just a little to get accepted as a summer intern at The International Spy Museum in Washington D.C. (This is a real place you can visit!) She is 14 and eleven months if you want to be picky about it. What’s one more month?
If you haven’t read any of Gilda’s other adventures, you should know that she is an experienced psychic investigator and she loves to spy and solve msyteries. Sometimes, she solves mysteries by paying attention to dead people!
Gilda says, “I decided I would learn everything I could about surveillance techniques, living undercover, and the art of disguise – all the tradecraft used by professional spies. …I admit it: I expected to impress the experts on the Spy Museum staff. After all, who could be better at discovering secrets than a young psychic spy?” She also gets a firsthand look at cool spy gadgets and meets some real spies!
What Gilda doesn’t count on is the number of ghosts that seem to be haunting our nation’s capitol, and in particular the Spy Museum itself! She also discovers that she’s in the spy capitol of the U.S. If she’s spying on everybody else, aren’t they also spying on her?
I have always liked Gilda, an independent thinking, curious, gutsy girl who goes with her instincts. I think this is my favorite of her adventures so far. She isn’t making this stuff up – she lives her dream!
Talk the Talk Word of the Day: Drop – A location people use to exchange information. One person leaves information in a certain place for another person to pick up. This way, the two people are not seen together.
Try out writing a mystery of your own. To help you get started, Use this: Detective Case Report. Looking at this will help you plan out your mystery story. You can also take an online mystery writing tutorial from Joan Lowery Nixon – she has written many mysteries for children and is an expert. Joan Lowery Nixon Mystery Writing Tutorial
Print out Write a Mystery. Fill in the blanks and write your mystery. When you are done, give it to one of the librarians at your Library Branch to receive 10 Digital Points on your SRP point card. You might see your mystery on the IMCPL Undercover Readers website!
If you don’t want to write, how about drawing a picture? Show us what you imagine as a mystery character. The character can be a detective, a secret agent, a witness or even the “perp” (short for “perpetrators,” another name for a suspect.) Print out Draw a Mystery Character. Fill in the blanks and draw your mystery character. Then give it to one of the librarians at your Library Branch to receive 10 Digital Points on your SRP point card. You might see your character on the IMCPL Undercover Readers website!
During a field trip to Black Vine Swamp Nick and his classmates are chased out of the swamp by an unexpected wildfire. The kids return to school only to discover that one teacher, the demanding and unpopular Mrs. Starch, is not among them. The school announces that she has had a “family emergency” but no one really believes that, especially Nick and his friend Marta. Why would her car still be in the visitor parking lot at the swamp? Why would the school cover up her disappearance?
Nick and Marta want to know the truth about Mrs. Starch as well as the fire. Their first suspect is classmate Duane “Smoke” Scrod because, well, he’s burned stuff before. The two decide to do some clue hunting on their own and find that the clues don’t match up with their initial hunches. Sometimes, when you think you know a lot about a person, you really know nothing at all.
Their investigation takes a dangerous turn when they stumble upon some greedy oilmen and a mysterious group of environmental activists who have their own plan to keep development from encroaching on the habitat of the endangered Florida panther in the Black Vine Swamp. Nick, Marta and Duane are likable, funny kids that are just plain smart, despite what some of the adults think. These kids also pay close attention to what people say and do and are able to remember the details. Author: Carl Hiaasen