Twelve-year-old Colophon Letterford deciphers clues in an old portrait that lead her and her father’s oddball cousin Julian to a literary treasure.
From the elegant family home in Georgia, Colophon travels to England, where she and Julian visit Shakespeare’s grave, are nearly trapped in a mausoleum and find a family strongbox in a private bank. At the same time, in the United States, her brother Case accompanies his father to a series of farcical meetings with peculiar and particular authors on whom the future of the family publishing company depends. The combination of humor and suspense works well to keep readers turning the pages of this modern-day mystery. Each chapter begins with a quotation from Shakespeare, and the atmosphere is posh. The action is fast-paced and cinematic, with sudden cuts from one scene to another. Colophon frankly enjoys books and school and the natural world; she’s contrasted with her obnoxious older brother, who appears to care only for his iPod but turns out to be both sympathetic and supportive of his father. This is Georgia inspector general Hicks’ first novel; a sequel continuing the tale of family treasure is promised for the fall of 2013.
Readers who enjoy watching puzzles be solved will enjoy the entertaining revelations. (Mystery. 9-13)