The sleepy Texas town of Hermosa where Andy, 12, lives has harbored a shameful secret for more than a century; when Andy...

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The sleepy Texas town of Hermosa where Andy, 12, lives has harbored a shameful secret for more than a century; when Andy starts to research his family history for a school assignment, he becomes intrigued by the status of one of his ancestors, who has been scratched out of the family Bible and of whom no one--not even Great-Aunt Winnie--will speak. Apparently Cole Joseph Bonner committed a deed so dastardly that he was disowned. Andy tackles the secret with the help of his best friend, J.J., the town librarian, Mrs. Alonzo, and genealogy experts he contacts on the Internet. Once he solves the mystery of Coley Joe, who is said to have stolen the family fortune, but who was really shot in the back and robbed by the founding member of one of Hermosa's fine old families, Andy realizes that to reveal what he knows will harm other people. Hooey. Readers will never buy that all these years later; Andy, by fudging his findings publicly, commits the same sin of covering up that the murderer did. From veteran Nixon (Spirit Seeker, 1995, etc.), this is a bland, homespun mystery without enough suspense to lace a shoe, let alone a history project. The feuding of two old women (almost as interchangeable in personality as in their names--Miz Minna and Miss Winnie) never gains credibility, and the linking of the old (genealogy) with the new (the Internet) feels like a gimmick.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0440411289

Page Count: 149

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1996