Determined to uncover the identity of the secret agent who seems to be right inside their uncle Newt’s house with them, 11-year-old twins Nick and Tesla construct a variety of spy-revealing gadgets in this third of an ongoing mystery-and-how-to series.
When an unfinished phone message from their mother reveals that there is someone nearby they can’t trust—and the message is suddenly erased—Nick and Tesla begin to see spies everywhere. Is it Oli, Uncle Newt’s new apprentice, who’s obviously not from Australia? Is it Skip, the exterminator from Verminator Pest Control, or Ethel and Gladys from Maids-to-Order? All these strangers are suspiciously hanging around the house where Uncle Newt is supposed to be keeping them safe while their parents are away on a shadowy mission. The inventive twins construct a fingerprint finder, alarm, spy camera and code wheels to use with their friends Silas and DeMarco, who help their investigations. Even Uncle Newt joins in at the end to distract the discovered evildoers with his mashed-banana–filled balloon weaponry. Instructions and diagrams are provided so that readers can do the same. Fast-paced, suspenseful and enlivened with grayscale illustrations, this is appealing middle-grade reading.
Hot-glue–gun fans will barely need the story that surrounds this new set of do-it-yourself gadget projects, but the continuing mystery will keep readers wanting more. (Adventure. 9-13)