Maria Valvano is convinced that she's going to be the hit of the school talent show with her magic act; her tricks will culminate in sawing a rabbit (actually Lester the rat in a bunny suit that she's made) in half. But before rehearsals are well under way, someone mysteriously steals Lester and the props. Joey and Maxine, Maria's assistants, help track down the several suspects, all of whom would like the act to fail; in the process, Maria learns humility--and a lot about herself. The pace does get a bit frenetic with so many suspects to shadow, and the trio's breaking and entering is sometimes of dubious legality, or taste. But the young detectives are admirably persistent, and there are certainly clues galore pointing to the culprit before Lester finally makes his stage debut.