Category Archives: Mystery

The Danger Box

The Danger Box

The Danger Box

“Mr. Zip had told no one, not one living soul,about his scheme. He had counted on survival.

That, as it turned out, was a mistake; death changed all the rules.” (page 4)

Mr. Zip dies after setting in motion an elaborate plan involving a box and something secret that is hidden in it. Because he’s dead, he isn’t there to see his plan carried out and can’t make an adjustment when pieces of his plan fall apart…like the box being stolen, hunted down, hidden, and then stolen again.

Zoomy and his Grandparents end up with the box. They open the box and it is Zoomy who decides that what is in the box is worth something, if only to him. But what’s in the box IS worth something and SOMEONE is still hunting for it. Things in boxes can be secrets and some secrets can be dangerous.

I loved how this mystery played out from beginning to end. I especially liked Zoomy’s Grandparents. They reminded me of Ob and May in Missing May. They have a simple wisdom about them that is so easy to like.  I liked watching Zoomy and his Grandparent’s deal with Zoomy’s Dad, who is not making very Dad-like decisions.

The mystery solving reminded my of The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. There are clues to unravel and the choices of other people to understand. The Danger Box is a couple kids who solve a mystery as a team and become more confident, interesting people because of their adventure together.  Author: Blue Balliett

Here are three more mysteries by Blue Balliett as well as another art mystery starring kid dectives Kari and Lucas:
Chasing Vermeer The Wright 3 The Calder Game The Mystery of the Third Lucretia
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The Pickle King

The Pickle King

The Pickle King

Podunk, rain-soaked Elbow, home of Herman’s Devil Tongue Relish, is not the place to be stuck for a whole summer. The Devil Tongue Relish comes in three strengths: Easy Does It, Turning Up the Heat, and Burning Down the House. What goes on in Elbow comes in three strengths: boring, more boring & even more boring.

The kids stuck in Elbow for the summer call themselves the Raintown Convicts – they have no escape from the town, the boredom, or each other…until the morning Sam knocks on Bea’s door and insists on showing her something. It’s the morning that changes everything.

Bea & Sam round up all the Convicts: Madison, Butterfly & Eric and they begin a summer of sneaking, running, climbing, riding bikes & stealing a car to solve a mystery in their normally boring, but now very, very interesting town. What’s so interesting? How about–

  • a ghost
  • an asylum
  • a fortune teller
  • a ring
  • a loyal dog
  • a secret cave
  • a dump
  • a forgotten attic
  • a diner
  • a camera
  • a dead body…intestines…an eyeball…& pickles!

If you like the movie Goonies you’ll like this one. Five kids with nothing in common stuck together for a mystery/adventure they’ll never forget. Did you catch the part about intestines and an eyeball? They’re in there. Really. Gross in the funnest possible sense. Author: Rebecca Promitzer

More teams of kids solving over-the-top mysteries:
Goonies Canned The Mysterious Benedict Society The Secret of Zoom
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Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer

Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer

Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer

Theo Boone’s parents are both lawyers in the small town of Strattenburg. Theo loves anything to do with the Court House and his friends there; lawyers, judges, court clerks & policemen. Theo even keeps an office of his own. The kids at school come to him with their legal issues: How do I get my dog back from the pound? What will the custody hearing with my parents be like?

Theo is confident and gives out solid legal advice, especially for a thirteen-year-old. When a high profile murder case comes to his little town Theo is determined to get a seat at the trial so he can see the drama unfold firsthand. What he doesn’t count on is getting pulled into the drama himself when a classmate comes to him with information that could change the outcome of the trial. Information that could ensure the right killer is behind bars.

This is an entertaining look at the legal system. There are really two sides to consider…justice for the victim and the presumption of innocence for the accused. That means that a person is innocent until PROVEN quilty. There are laws that are designed to make sure innocent people don’t go to jail for things they didn’t do. Did you know that after a certain point in a trial new evidence can’t be introduced even if it can prove the guilt or innocence of the accused?

I think you’ll like meeting Theodore Boone and looking at the law like he does – from the inside. Author: John Grisham

If you like Theo, try the kid detective Fletcher Moon in Half Moon Investigations. The kids at school come to Fletcher when a mystery needs solved. Fletcher and Theo would make a good team.
Half Moon Investigations Order in the Court Encyclopedia Brown Saves the Day Kid Caramel Werewolf of PS 40
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The Case of the Gypsy Good-bye

The Case of the Gypsy Good-bye

The Case of the Gypsy Good-bye

Fourteen year-old Enola is still living in disguise, staying one step ahead of her older brothers Mycroft and Sherlock. Enola has been on her own for almost a year trying desperately to find her missing mother as well as stay away from her two brothers who think the best place for her is a girl’s boarding school.

When a mysterious package arrives at Ferndall Hall – the estate where the Holmes children grew up – Sherlock is called home to investigate.  The art on the intricately decorated package is clearly the work of Lady Eudoria Holmes, Enola’s missing mother. The package is addressed to Enola.

A mysterious package addressed TO a missing person FROM a missing person. Now that’s a mystery for the master – Sherlock Holmes. Of course he might need a little help from his sister Enola, because she isn’t going to be found, unless she WANTS to be found. A terrific end to a great mystery series.  Author: Nancy Springer

Other Enola Holmes Mysteries:

#1: The Case of the Missing Marquess on CD or Downloadable eBook
#2: The Case of the Left Handed Lady
#3: The Case of the Bizarre Bouquests on CD
#4: The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan on CD
#5: The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline on CD or Downloadable eBook
#6: The Case of the Gypsy Goodbye on Downloadable eBook

If you like reading about Enola try Death in the Air or Vanishing Girl. These two are about Sherlock Holmes as a boy solving mysteries – they reveal how and why Sherlock became a detective in the first place. If you like the time period in Enola and you like the idea of kids solving mysteries on their own in a dark, gothic setting, try The Eyeball Collector or The Story of Cirrus Flux.
Death in the Air The Vanishing Girl The Eyeball Collector The Story of Cirrus Flux
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The 39 Clues #8: The Emperor’s Code

The 39 Clues #8: The Emperor’s Code

The Emperor's Code

Still hot on the trail of the 39 Clues Dan and Amy Cahill find themselves in China hoping that the trail will continue to lead them to treasure beyond their wildest dreams.

At The Forbidden City in Beijing, Dan and Amy get an up close tour of the famous Terra Cotta Army of  Emperor Qin Shi Huang Di. He was the first Chinese Emperor. (A Cahill of course!) He is well known for unifying China and for building The Great Wall of China. He is also famous for the statue army that was placed in his tomb. The warrior statues are life size and all have a different face – thousands of them! (Really, these statues are real.) While there, Dan finds a pice of fabric in the secret attic of an old temple. The fabric has Cahill family crests on it as well as some Chinese writing. Definately a clue!

When Amy suggests asking Uncle Alistair translate the writing Dan won’t even terra-cotta-armygive the idea a chance. No way is Dan trusting ANYONE every again.

Amy takes this moment to talk about something that has been bugging her for awhile:

There’s something pretty big we have to face up to….Mom and Dad were Madrigals….[W]ho knows what kind of weird stuff a couple of Madrigals could have been into? We look at the other teams as the bad guys. But what if, back then, that’s how the rest of the faily saw Mom and Dad? A couple of loose cannons who had to be stopped?

terra-cotta-warriorThe idea that their parents could have been bad guys makes Dan so angry he runs off in a rage…and promptly gets kidnapped! Now separated, Dan and Amy have some big decisions to make about their loyalty…is it to The 39 Clues, or to each other? And please, somebody tell me, is Nellie a good guy or a bad guy?!! When she is talking on the phone – who is she talking to? Gordon Korman Series: The 39 Clues

The first four 39 Clues Books so far…there will be 10 in all.:
The Maze of Bones Once False Note The Sword Thief Beyond the Grave
The Black Circle In Too Deep The Viper's Nest Book 9: (May 25, 2010) by Linda Sue Park
Book 10: (August 31, 2010) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
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