Wells, Marcia. Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile
April 1st 2014
by HMH Books for Young Readers
Copy received from HMH Middle Grade Mania
Edmund Lonnrot lives in New York City with his parents, attends an expensive private school, Senate, and has a photographic memory. This isn't all that useful, but when he and his father are getting ice cream and his father gets tangled up with a man who turns out to be part of an art crime ring, his ability to draw the man's face from memory astounds the police. Reluctantly, Detective Bonvano hires "Eddie Red" to hang out at museums, pretending to draw but in reality looking for certain faces that have been involved in crime. This is great, because his father has lost his job as a librarian and the family can no longer afford to pay his tuition. Eddie gets involved in a copy of situations (one where he accidentally Tasers a cat!) that are dangerous, but his real contribution is figuring out with his friend Jonah that the criminals have altered their pattern of thefts, identifying the next theft, and realizing that some of the criminals are hiding in plain sight. Bonvano grudgingly admits that Eddie is a valuable asset to the department, which is probably part of what leads to book two: Mystery in Mayan Mexico.
Strengths: Nice sense of place, good details about art museums in New York, and a supportive family for Eddie. BOTH of his parents are alive! The employment by the police department is realistically done, students will like the pictures of various characters, and librarians everywhere rejoice in the cover-- a black boy. This book would be a good next step for readers who enjoy Sharon Draper's Ziggy mystery series.
Weaknesses: There are several times when Eddie talks about being bored sitting in the museums, and I shared his emotions at those points!