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
The Boy Sherlock Holmes series tells the story of the childhood of the world’s most famous detective. In his first adventure, Eye of the Crow, we met Sherlock as a very young boy as he solved his first big case and committed his life to fighting crime.
In this second adventure, Sherlock witnesses a famous trapeze artist fall to his death. Sherlock observes that something isn’t right at the crime scene and suspects foul play. Again, Sherlock is a step ahead of the bobbies (police), especially Scotland Yard’s Inspector Lestrade, who dislikes the upstart boy detective and took all of the credit for the last mystery Sherlock solved.
Sherlock is determined to figure things out by observing the crime scene and talking to people. He is so totally committed to his life of crime fighting that he can hardly concentrate on anything else. This makes him a top notch detective, but not so great at making and keeping friends. When Inspector Lestrade betrays him again, young Sherlock cements his desire to be the best detective in the world… and to work alone. His plan is to outsmart them all and turn himself into the best crime-fighting machine anybody has every seen. And he’ll do it too – his 3rd case, Vanishing Girl, comes out in October, 2009. Author: Shane Peacock
James is having a really terrible 11th birthday. His mom has invited kids he doesn’t even know to his birthday party. All James really wants is for his father to come and finally, at the end, he does – bringing with him a pen and ink drawing set as a gift.
Observing all of this from the safety of a very tiny hiding place is Marvin, a beetle that lives in the kitchen cupboard. Marvin has watched the awful birthday party and the sad look on James’ face. Marvin is determined to give James a really good birthday present, and so he does. Late that night, he uses the pen and ink set to draw James a miniature picture, a perfect miniature picture of the scene outside James’s bedroom window. The picture is perfect down to the last tiny detail – it’s a masterpiece.
James thinks the picture is brilliant and is even happier discovering that he has a beetle-sized friend. James’s happiness turns to dismay, however, when his mother assumes James drew the picture. Things get really complicated when James is recruited to forge a Drurer drawing for the Metropolitan Museum of Art so that art thieves will be tricked into stealing a fake. The problem – James can’t draw! With Marvin safely tucked into his pocket, the two new friends set out for a real adventure at the Museum of Art. The boy and the beetle happen to see things no one else seems to notice. Things even get dangerous because the art theives are closer than anyone thinks. Author: Elise Broach
If you like The Mouse and the Motorcycle or Stuart Little – this is another great story between a human/animal pair, this time, a boy and a bug. And even though beetles have a lot of legs and scurry and are generally not liked, Marvin is a great character. He’s a funny, lovable beetle-friend for James. And he’s great at observation – he has to be if he doesn’t want stepped on!
Here are some great art mysteries too – try these: