Tag Archives: mystery

EVERY WORD Blog Tour

18 Nov

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Today, I am one of several bloggers taking part in Ellie Marney’s North American blog tour, celebrating her latest novel, Every Word.

Every Word

This is the second book in a series, by Australian Ellie Marney,  that riffs on Sherlock Holmes and follows James Mycroft and Rachel Watts as they travel (separately) to London to investigate the theft and readers learn about Mycroft’s tortured background.

Publisher’s Summary:James Mycroft has just left for London to investigate a car accident similar to the one that killed his parents … without saying goodbye to Rachel Watts, his ‘partner in crime’.

The theft of a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio, the possible murder of a rare books conservator, and the deaths of Mycroft’s parents…. Can Watts help Mycroft make sense of the three events – or will she lose him forever?

Sparks fly when Watts and Mycroft reunite in this second sophisticated thriller about the teen sleuthing duo.

Every Word is intelligent reading and even better than the first book. Mycroft and Watts fit the Holmesian models of complicated and brilliant sleuth with a loyal and logical partner. There is some romance between the two, but the mystery is definitely front and center.

Both books are told from Rachel’s point of view. She is a tough, down to earth character, who begins competing in roller derby in this second book. Just as Watson grounds Holmes, Rachel grounds Mycroft. She knows he is a flawed boyfriend, but is willing to make the effort.

“I’ve nursed sick animals before, and sometimes they just give up. Their eyes fill with this helpless lethargy, and there’s not a lot you can do after that. Now I’m filled with the same awful feeling — that whatever’s broken inside Mycroft might well be beyond my ability to fix. “

The first book, Every Breath,  was enjoyable because of its Australian setting and the publisher’s decision to keep the language authentically so. Every Word, set in London feels equally as authentic and the pace of the story is right on, making it tempting to read the book in a single sitting.

Although I recommend reading Every Breath  before Every Word, you could conceivably read them out of order. This pair of mysteries would be excellent holiday gifts for a young adult reader who loves mysteries.

Every Breath Every Word

Marvelous

27 Jul

Another fantastic ARC I got at the ALA conference was The Marvels by Brian Selznick!!!

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Unlike The Invention of Hugo Cabret and  Wonderstruck, where the pages of illustration alternate with the text, in The Marvels,  Selznick begins with 400 pages of a story told through illustration alone. This story follows five generations of a legendary family of actors, beginning with young Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck.  It is followed by about 200 pages of text which centers on a boy in 1990 who runs away from school to his estranged uncle’s enigmatic London house. Then there are 50 more pages of illustration. The two stories seem to be unrelated, but are brought together in the brief, but powerful conclusion.

The story was inspired by Selznick’s visit to the Dennis Severs’ House in London and Selznick provides an explanation about this strange inspiration in the Afterword.

I am excited that I have this copy that I can out on the shelf of my new classroom in September.

Detective Duos

18 May

First there was Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

Then, we had Mike Stone (Karl Malden) and Steve Keller (Michael Douglas) in The Streets of San Francisco. If you mashed up Stone & Keller with Frog & Toad, you’d have  Detective Gordon and Buffy, the heroes of  Detective Gordon: The First Case written by Ulf Nilsson and illustrated by Gitte Spee

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Detective Gordon is an aging detective, fond of cakes, and prone to falling asleep. Buffy is his new assistant, eager and anxious to get out the pistol. They are working together to solve the mystery of the nuts that are disappearing all over the forest. Detective Gordon, though getting older, has learned important lessons.

I was a little concerned at first with the pistol that was locked in the cabinet. Buffy keeps asking if they are going to use it. Detective Gordon keeps telling her “no”. Finally, he explains,

“To take the pistol one must be very wise and very careful. It’s dangerous.”

Buffy jumped up and down angrily. The thieves were disappearing between the trees. But she badly wanted to have the pistol.

She would have it.

“But you are very wise and very careful, chief.”

Detective Gordon held up his finger. He had something very important to say.

“The one who is really wise and very careful doesn’t take it with him!” said the detective. “It’s dangerous.”

Far, far away, they could hear the thieves laughing. But Buffy wouldn’t give up.

“Why is it in the glass cabinet then? Why don;t you throw it away?”

“In case someone finds it and hurts themselves. It is safest locked up in the police station.”

The entire book is full of philosophical conversations like that. But what makes me really love the book is the stamp.

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Every paper the detective duo write on requires an official stamp. The stamp they use has a crown in the center, through Detective Gordon doesn’t really know why “but it seemed powerful and no one had questioned it”. It makes a satisfying KLA-DUNK sound and that is good enough.

This is a charming  book for readers just venturing into chapter books.

Sleuthing with Emily Dickinson

25 Jun

I have never really read Emily Dickinson. She wasn’t much part of the syllabus in my Canadian education. I knew of her for sure and have come across her poetry and references to her as an adult. So, it seems both strange and exciting  that two books for middle grade readers feature Emily Dickinson and her poetry.

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Destiny, Rewritten by Kathryn Fitzmaurice is the tale of Emily Elizabeth, named after Emily Dickinson. From before her birth her mother, an Emily Dickinson scholar, predicted her daughter would be a great poet. She recorded details about Emily in a volume of her collected works, annotating poems with events in Emily’s life.  Emily, on the other hand, is obsessed with Danielle Steele and wants to be a romance writer, not a poet. When the Emily Dickinson volume is accidentally sent to a resale shop, Emily is on the trail, trying to track it down.

A murder mystery is the subject of Nobody’s Secret  by Michaela MacColl. The sleuth is a young and pre-recluse Emily Dickinson. Teenaged Emily meets a young man who later turns up dead in her pond. She does not know his identity because, when they met, they did not tell each other their name, preferring to be Nobodies. It is Emily Dickinson alone who believes his death is not an accidental drowning and she pursues the truth, even when the adults around her tell her to stop. MacColl incorporates ideas from Dickinson’s poetry into her narrative, creating plausible inspirations for their origins.

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