DISAPPEARING ACTS by Betsy Byars

DISAPPEARING ACTS

A Herculeah Jones Mystery
Age Range: 10 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Frizzing up whenever danger threatens, amateur sleuth Herculeah Jones's hair gets a real workout in this tale of murder, weight, and family secrets. The spotlight is on Herculeah's chunky friend, Meat, who finds a corpse in the restroom of the local comedy club. Moments later, the body's gone--although a trail of clues remains. Meanwhile, on the film from an old camera, Herculeah finds pictures of Meat's long-absent father, and believes she must conceal them. Byars (Tarot Says Beware, 1995, etc.) keeps readers on the edges of their seats with alternating shocks, cliff-hangers, and revelations; she throws in plenty of red herrings, plus tantalizing references to Herculeah's past and future cases before closing with a dazzling series of twists: Not only does the killer turn out to be a sympathetic sort who strangled her comedian boyfriend for telling "fat" jokes at her expense (in a mordant denouement, she and Meat reel off a series), but contrary to Herculeah's expectations, Meat is thrilled to learn that his father is Macho Man, a WrestleMania regular. Some plot elements get short shrift, but several characters show surprising depth, and readers should be prepared to read this in one breathless sitting. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-670-87735-2
Page count: 132pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1998




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