Laura feels like she doesn’t belong, especially at school where the kids seem to be so uninterested in anything different…like Laura herself, her writer father, her sculptor mother or the falling down mansion they live in. They only thing the other kids ever want to know is if the big old house is haunted. It IS full of unused rooms and dusty furniture and an attic full of deteriorating junk, but if it’s haunted Laura doesn’t care, she loves the old house. Laura is a dreamer and artist. She loves imagining what might have gone on in the grand ballroom of the old house. When Laura meets her friend Leon’s grandmother she actually remembers the owner of the home:
He was an Italian gentleman. Some people said that he had been an ambassador or a consul and that he had raveled all over the world. Others said he was a professor. No one really knew. He lived in the big house on his own. (page 65)
Laura’s imagination goes into high gear as she dreams up reasons why a man would build such an elaborate house and then live in it for years all alone. When Laura discovers that Leon is also interested in the secrets of the house the two of them set out to find out Mr. Visconti’s story. A forgotten cellar, a locked box, old letters, a cemetery are only some of the clues that help the kids unravel the mystery of Mr. Carlo Visconti.
If you have ever dreamed about exploring an old house…opening drawers and peeking into boxes in the attic, The Visconti House is a perfect mystery for you. It’s also got a little bit of romance, both in the mysterious past of the house and in Laura’s present. Author: Elsbeth Edgar
If you liked reading about Laura and Leon and how they investigated the old house by looking for clues and talking to people, you might like these mysteries that feature kid detectives that know how to listen, sort through the possibilities and figure out mysteries from the past…mysteries that really should be unsolvable after so much time has passed.
Joey Fly, Private Eye, and his sidekick Sammy Stingtail are back solving another mystery in Bug City. This time they are hired by the tarantula Hairy Spyderson, owner of the Scarab Beetle Theatre. Hairy’s leading lady, Greta Divawing, is missing. No leading lady means no show and no show means no money. Hairy is desperate and says money is no object – he wants his lady back! Hairy hands Joey a downpayment for his detecting:
“It was a hefty wad of bread, the crusty European kind. With this kind of dough, I could leave a longer trail of bread crumbs than Hansel and Gretel.” (page 35)
Joey and Sammy head to the place Greta was least seen – the theater – to talk to all of the cast members who might have seen her before she turned up missing. Somebody has to know something, and Joey will find out what it is…unless Sammy talks to much, destroys clues, falls in love with a suspect, or whacks him in the head with his stinger.
“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
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 fortune teller
a loyal dog
a secret cave
a forgotten attic
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
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