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Middle Grade Mystery

Jug Valley Mysteries, HANDS UP!

Written by Anne Digby

Amy and Tim are students at Jug Valley. Together with their friends and fellow students, Ben, Ludo, and Mini, they have formed a club called Hands and Spouts. They meet regularly to solve mystery cases. One day at school, Ben accidentally kicks a football over the fence into the rector’s garden. It belongs to Charlie, a lower class man, who becomes terribly distraught. The five friends make a promise to retrieve the precious football as soon as the school day ends.

What appears to be a simple task turns thorny, when the members of the club discover the football has vanished into thin air. Howard, the rector’s son, promises to help, but the trail runs cold. These young detectives are mystified as to why a grungy, old football is so important, but when it becomes apparent that football is gone, they intensify their efforts to stop at nothing to get Charlie’s football back into his hands. Why is this football so valuable and why are so many people trying to gain possession of it? There are enough twists and turns to entice middle grade readers to keep turning pages. When the mystery is finally solved, all who have been touched by it learn valuable lessons about themselves and each other.

My only criticism is that the story begins slowly. I had not read any of the other books in the series and therefore was unfamiliar with the characters. After the first couple of chapters, the story evolved and grew more interesting. I like the fact that there is enough challenging vocabulary to stretch the minds of young readers. American readers will need to acclimate to British phrases. Recommended especially for readers in the eight to twelve age bracket.

Detective Debut

Cora Flash and the Diamond of Madagascar

Written by Tommy Davey

CoraFlash,pic

Cora is a spunky preteen who is traveling alone for the first time on a overnight train from the city to Topaz Mountain to spend some time in the country with her Uncle Andre. She meets a colorful cast of characters including a single woman, Mrs. Bronwyn, and her dog, Calvin. Almost immediately she notices a man named Mr. Sloane, who is being overprotective of a silver briefcase that he does not let out of his sight. It turns out that he has good reason for that because Mr. Sloane is carrying a valuable gemstone. The stone disappears from his sleeping car; Cora, a honeymoon couple, Mrs. Bronwyn, a college student, and the railroad porter will all be suspects interrogated by an undercover detective on the train.

The inspector is determined to solve the mystery by interrogation, but Cora has a few plans of her own. Will they be able to unravel the mystery to find out the identify of the thief? Cora proves her cleverness and keeps her cool. All the action takes place in less than two hundred pages before the passengers disembark from the train. Certainly this is a first ride that Cora will long remember and the beginning of her interest in solving many mysteries to follow.

Great story for tweens. It has the elements of a good mystery, colorful characters, and a respectful, intelligent strong female role model. This is a quick, fast moving read that will appeal to reluctant readers. Recommended highly for boys and girls eight years up and older.

Barbara Ann Mojica, Author
www.LittleMissHISTORY.com

A Middle Grade Treasure Hunt Series

The Hunt for the Well Hidden Treasure: K.I.D.S. Adventure Series

Written by Bob Sheard and Timothy Taylor

 

huntforwellhiddentreasure,pic

El Cazador, a Spanish pirate, has just stolen The King’s Cross, but his ship is surrounded by cannon fire. Desperate to escape, he slips over the side of his ship, deserting the rest of his crew. As he makes his way to shore, he knows that the Mexican revolutionaries will soon be after him. The captain decides to bury the heavy chest.

Almost two hundred years later on September 15, 2013, the town of Knightsbridge, California is going wild with the news that skeletal remains of a notorious pirate have been found by hikers in a cavern. His leather journal lay nearby containing the details that he was returning to find a hidden treasure. Professional organizations and local treasure hunters are already hard at work seeking to discover the chest.

Will and his father have recently moved to Knightsbridge; Will has few friends. He is intelligent and clever and immediately becomes interested in treasure-hunting. When Mikey discovers Will’s research notes, he cannot wait to share them with his two best friends, Evelyn and Susan. Fate and mutual curiosity will throw all of them together into a partnership. The foursome will face challenges from international organizations, fellow students and entrepreneurs, but they will pool their intelligence, computer skills, and mechanical abilities to sort through all possibilities until they finally solve the mystery.

Will they find the treasure and become rich? Needless to say, the adventure leaves them determined to set up a detective agency to solve future mysteries and reward readers with lots of adventures. This book has a plot with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, the dialogue is authentic to middle grade students, and the characters appealing and well-developed. Targeted for ages eight through twelve, but written well enough for older teens as well. Detective story fans might just have a new series to follow.

Barbara Ann Mojica

Author of the Little Miss HISTORY series:
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to The STATUE of LIBERTY
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to FORD’S THEATER
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to INTREPID, Sea, Air & Space Museum COMING SOON!
WWW.LittleMissHISTORY.com