There is danger at every turn for two plucky cousins in 1920s New York City as they confront evil in this adventure.
Maxine and William are meant to spend the summer with their grandfather, of whom they have little or no memory. They find Col. Battersea strange and mysterious. A cryptic telegram regarding an important package leads to a trip to New York City, where Grandpa is immediately kidnapped. The children become involved with bootleggers, gangsters, and an evil terror group dedicated to conquering the world, all in an effort to obtain the package that contains a powerful, magical object. With the help of Nura, the girl who brought the package from Turkey only to have it stolen, they must retrieve the parcel, save Grandpa, and thwart the terror group’s plans. Murders, mayhem, chases, capture, and daring feats ensue, with the children discovering inner strengths and demonstrating ingenuity, courage, and determination. Brumbach’s vivid descriptions and terse, to-the-point dialogue keep the action moving and readers constantly engaged and surprised. The inconclusive ending sets the stage for a sequel. That the evildoers are an Arabic terror organization secretly operating in the city might be a little too close for comfort, and perhaps this is why the author chose an earlier time period; nevertheless, the story regrettably draws on outdated, unfortunate Orientalist tropes.
A fast-paced, action-packed adventure with sinister overtones made problematic by their grounding in exoticism. (author’s note, glossary) (Historical adventure. 10-14)