The whiz kid from The Puzzling World of Winston Breen returns to reason through his second mystery. Winston and his two friends, Mal and Jake, are sent to represent Walter Fredericks Junior High in a daylong puzzle competition sponsored by the eccentric owner of Simon's Snack Foods.
Their teacher, Mr. Garvey, is determined to win the $50,000 prize for their school and constantly chides the boys to take the day seriously. As Winston's group scrambles around town tracking clues and solving riddles, they are waylaid by a saboteur they suspect is connected to one of the competing schools. They also encounter ethical questions: Is it okay to bend the rules to win?
In the end, Winston and Mr. Garvey face a moral dilemma and emerge with a better understanding of one another. Berlin refreshes traditional themes, including the importance of good sportsmanship, with oodles of mind-bogglers for readers' enjoyment.
While some puzzles are integral to the plot, others can be solved at a later point (an answer key and additional puzzles are appended). The interlocking mystery contains all the information needed for its unraveling. The subplots are well integrated and the dialogue is snappy. Great for readers who enjoyed THE LONDON EYE MYSTERY and CHASING VERMEER.
256 pages 978-0142416372 Ages 9-12
Recommended by: Beverly Wrigglesworth, Librarian, Texas USA