Fun, free-spirited, and fantastic, Madhattan Mystery is a madcap mystery adventure in New York City.
Lexi and Kevin McGill travel by train to New York when their father marries step-mother Clare and takes a trip to Europe. The kids will stay with their Aunt Roz, an eccentric, over-the-top actress—think Auntie Mame and you’ll have Roz.
While at Grand Central Station, Lexi steps into the fabled Whispering Gallery, where a whisper from one corner of the giant room can be heard hundreds of feet away due to the acoustics. Lexi overhears two mysterious men whispering about a secret heist and she overhears “needle, track sixty-one, Grand Central, oval disk, park, jewels.” Lexi knows these guys are up to no good.
The next day’s newspaper confirms her fears. Cleopatra’s fabled jewels are missing from the “Queen of the Nile” exhibit. Lexi feels terrible. She may know who did it, but how does she convince grown-ups? She mentions her plight to her younger brother Kevin and snarky, flippant, abrasive "friend" Kim Ling Levine, a girl who lives in Aunt Roz’s building. Kim is a wonderful character—she’s flippant, feisty, fierce, and near-genius! Her dream is to be a news reporter, and she’s unstoppable when tracking down clues.
The tween threesome finds track sixty-one and follows clues to find the jewels. The thieves know who Lexi is and where she lives. The kids will have to be careful to solve the crime and put the bad guys behind bars before the bad guys are onto them. Can three tweens solve “The Crime of the Century” and collect the reward?
I loved Aunt Roz—she is the epitome of a bright Broadway star whose with moxie—a middle aged actress still chasing the dream but ending up with smaller and smaller parts. She knows the score but won’t let it get her down. She’s like the Unsinkable Molly Brown.
Lexi is cute and a red-head—finally! A red head protagonist with strength and wit has been missing in kid lit for a long time. And what can be said of Kim Ling—I wanna be like her when I grow up!
Highly, highly recommended grades 5-up. No language. 292 pages
Recommended by: Pamela Thompson, Librarian, Texas USA
Visit her at 2012 High School Blog of the Year
Lexi and Kevin are leaving the life they know in Cold Spring and headed to spend the summer with Aunt Roz in New York City. It's a foreign country as far as they are concerned with its throngs and oddballs and constant noise and action all around. They're been sent to summer camp here to give their grieving and newly married father a chance to spend time with his new bride. Lexi does not like her stepmother and spends the summer hoping for a miracle that will separate her father from this woman whose fortune seems to be her greatest gift.
The miracle is on its way but not in any way as Lexi expects. This is a lightly told story speckled with plenty of characters who own the word attitude. Prime example is Kim Ling who shows up in Aunt Roz's apartment building and promptly hijacks the starring role in the story. The power of her personality and her caustic remarks set the scene and the cranks and budding stars who live in the apartment building add more New Yorkish ingredients.
Aunt Roz is busy with her part time roles in commercials and musicals. That opens the door for Lexi, brother Kevin, and newly found antagonist Kim, to go in search of the large reward, originally $180,000, if they can come up with information leading to the thieves who stole Cleopatra's jewels. Why would these kids newly arrived in town have a clue? Well, a brief stop in the Whispering Gallery of Grand Central Station was long enough for Lexi to overhear some slippery characters incriminating themselves. Now, the three kids are using all of their free time following clue after clue and wandering the streets of New York.
Their search leads them to the homeless and runaways. It leads them to friendship. It leads Lexi along a trail of white feathers that appear magically in moments that can only mean her mother is still watching her from the great beyond.The author of this wacky tale is a former musical comedy performer and it shows.
He loves to throw in snarky comments and he has written a book that weaves a few good threads together in the name of adventure but he never takes things too seriously. This is a book for children who enjoy reading how it happens more than what happens. It's a cotton candy adventure on Coney Island with a roller coaster ride, a dunking booth, and plenty of clowns. 292 pages. Ages 8-11 978-0802723499
Recommended by: Barb