Monday, January 02, 2012

Murder Mysteries

Mackel, Dandi Daley. The Silence of Murder.
When Hope's brother Jeremy is accused of murdering the high school baseball coach, she doesn't believe he's guilty. Jeremy stopped speaking at the age of 9, has trouble relating to people, and also has an odd fascination with empty jars. Since the coach was always nice to Jeremy, Hope sees no reason that he would have bludgeoned him to death with a ball bat, although all evidence points to the contrary. With the help of T.J., a long time friend, and Chase, the sheriff's son who was on the same ball team as T.J., Hope tries to figure out who the real culprit is. In her search, she uncovers other family and community secrets, which lead her to discover exactly how the crime occurred.
Strengths: Always need more murder mysteries, and this one is well done. Hope is a persistent and strong character who rises above her circumstances to do right by the one person, her brother, in her life who doesn't let her down. Jeremy's diagnosis of being on the autism spectrum is reasonably portrayed.
Weaknesses: Wish this was little shorter (it's 300+ pages), and since the courtroom scenes slow down the plot, I would have cut those a bit. Still definitely buying. Love the cover!

Margolin, Phillip, and Ami Margolin Rome. Vanishing Acts.
Madison Kincaid's father is a defense attorney who tries a lot of murder cases, and Madison has always tagged along to his office, since her mother died when she was young. Her biggest love, however, is soccer, and she hopes to make the team in junior high, which is starting soon. Unfortunately, her best friend, Ann, doesn't show up for tryouts or for school, and Madison starts to worry that something has happened to her, especially when her father gets a case defending Mr. Shelby, who is accused of murdering his wife-- who was Madison's teacher! Evidence is circumstantial, but Madison, with the help of rather cute classmate Jake, decides to investigate on her own. She makes the soccer team as the first alternate, middle school doesn't seem too bad, and she manages to find out about why both Ann and Mrs. Shelby have vanished.
Strengths: Very nice middle grade mystery with engaging characters, intriguing setting, and true to life handling of middle grade issues.
Weaknesses: The murder part of this is week, and I didn't quite buy the reasons for the vanishing acts. Would anyone really think this would work? Still, a little darker than Maggie Brooklyn or some younger mysteries.

Cusick, Richie Tankersley. Trick or Treat.E ARC from
Martha and Conor's parents have gotten married and moved the family to the old Bedford house at the outskirts of a small town. Martha isn't happy about this, especially when the old house gives off massively creepy vibes that make her suspect that her stepbrother is even creepier than she thought. She settles in fairly well at school, meeting the dashing Blake and his sister Wynn, but the house turns out to have been the scene of the murder of Elizabeth... who was Wynn's best friend and Blake's girlfriend. Martha starts to recieve threatening phone calls and several incidents like a creepy scarecrow hung on their porch and an unexplained fire in the kitchen make Martha even more worried. Is Elizabeth's ex-boyfriend Dennis, who was presumed dead, really alive and threatening Martha? Can all of the friends survive the Halloween dance?
Strengths: Since I just lost Cusick's Fatal Secrets to a juice box in a back pack, I was in mourning and very pleased to see Open Road Media rerelease this 1989 title. It was fast paced, super creepy with moaning trees and secret passages, and I wanted to order two copies!Weaknesses: Imagine my suprise when I logged into Follett's Titlewave and found this listed as "out of print"! I was beyond crushed! Why had I not realized earlier that Open Road Media is only digital content? Since these were originally paperbacks, there is just no way to get a copy to circulate. Back to the mourning!

I try to be laser-like in my focus on books, but given the sheer number of comments on Saturday, maybe I should just start posting a new picture of my dog every day! While wandering around other's blogs for Mother Reader's Comment Challenge, I was greatly amused by Annie's trivia challenge over at The Backstory . For those of you who need a bit of levity in a grim January morning, here's my own challenge. Feel free to make up answers!

1. In Robert McCloskey's Homer Price, what is the color of the dress that Miss Terwilliger wears in the giant ball o' yarn contest?
2. What is the very 1950's name of Henry Reed's best friend?
3. What was the first mainstream audio CD sold in the US?
4. What is appropriate apparel for librarians everywhere this coming January 18?What is the 5. state rock song of Ohio? (Feel free to tell me your state's rock song. What? You don't have one?)

Answers tomorrow on Guy Friday!


  1. Do the kids in your school like to read mysteries? I can't seem to interest anyone in them, all they want is more of what they already read - science fiction, fantasy, paranormal. I tell them that's fine, but variety is the spice of life. How to you interest them?

    Sylvie is a very appealing little dog, especially to this dogless asthmatic who would love to have one.

  2. I can't keep enough mysteries in, but they all want MURDER!

    And Sylvie is a hypoallergenic Yorkiepoo. I'm allergic, and she doesn't bother me at all, even though she is right next to me all the time!

  3. ooh! ooh! I know 1 and 2!

    1. Robin's egg blue

    2. Midge

    I LOVE Henry Reed!

  4. Egads, I don't know. What is this cool apparel? Actually I don't know any of the answers. But I love mysteries. There are some good ones listed here. My Goodreads TBR list is already longer than I will ever be able to finish. But there I add them anyway!

  5. I hope I'm not too late to answer your trivia questions! (I promise I won't read Friday's post until I'm done! :) )
    1. I used to read Homer Price to my fifth graders --I'm going to guess yellow!

    2. Howard?

    3. Book or song? I'll guess song--maybe something by the Rolling Stones or by Madonna?

    4. Newbery and Caldecott wear, of course! Something with shiny gold or silver.

    5. My home state is Washington and that song is "Louie, Louie"!