"Noel glub C blub all. . . I glub new. . . ." These are the last words that Mrs. Carillon hears from her sinking husband before she herself is hit on the head by their capsizing boat and the two of them are taken to the hospital. They are also the first words she has heard from him since they were married at five and seven to cement a soup factory partnership and the young husband was sent away to school, but the devoted Mrs. Carillon spends the next 21 years assiduously searching for Leon (or Noel, as he calls himself) and trying to solve the glub-blubs. She glimpses him once in Bloomingdale's, but he's on the down escalator and she's on the up, and her attempts to get to him only result in her being sent to the Women's House of Detention for inciting to riot. It would be impossible to summarize subsequent events, which progress from the ridiculous to the preposterous, and equally unsporting to disclose the puzzle's solution (which hinges on a horse named Christmas Bells**), but with the help of childhood friend Augie Kunkel (a stammering crossword puzzle-maker whose avocation is nouns) and her adopted twins Tony and Tina, all ends happily at Thanksgiving dinner with a double wedding, a cellmates' reunion, and the promise of fame and fortune all round. The story is as current as the shaved and saffron-robed protesters who help "Free Mrs. Carillon" (or "Free the Orphans' Mother") from the Pest Hole, the pictures (made of words and asterisks) are part of the werbal fun, and the whole's a flamboyantly nimble farce. **a clue

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 1971

ISBN: 0525423699

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1971

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Full of puzzles to think about, puns to groan at and references to children’s book titles, this solid, tightly plotted read...


From the Mr. Lemoncello's Library series , Vol. 1

When a lock-in becomes a reality game, 12-year-old Kyle Keeley and his friends use library resources to find their way out of Alexandriaville’s new public library.

The author of numerous mysteries for children and adults turns his hand to a puzzle adventure with great success. Starting with the premise that billionaire game-maker Luigi Lemoncello has donated a fortune to building a library in a town that went without for 12 years, Grabenstein cleverly uses the tools of board and video games—hints and tricks and escape hatches—to enhance this intricate and suspenseful story. Twelve 12-year-old winners of an essay contest get to be the first to see the new facility and, as a bonus, to play his new escape game. Lemoncello’s gratitude to the library of his childhood extends to providing a helpful holographic image of his 1968 librarian, but his modern version also includes changing video screens, touch-screen computers in the reading desks and an Electronic Learning Center as well as floor-to-ceiling bookshelves stretching up three stories. Although the characters, from gamer Kyle to schemer Charles Chiltington, are lightly developed, the benefits of pooling strengths to work together are clear.

Full of puzzles to think about, puns to groan at and references to children’s book titles, this solid, tightly plotted read is a winner for readers and game-players alike. (Mystery. 9-13)

Pub Date: June 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-87089-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An effort as insubstantial as any spirit.


Eleven-year-old Maria Russo helps her charlatan mother hoodwink customers, but Maria has a spirited secret.

Maria’s mother, the psychic Madame Destine, cons widows out of their valuables with the assistance of their apartment building’s super, Mr. Fox. Madame Destine home-schools Maria, and because Destine is afraid of unwanted attention, she forbids Maria from talking to others. Maria is allowed to go to the library, where new librarian Ms. Madigan takes an interest in Maria that may cause her trouble. Meanwhile, Sebastian, Maria’s new upstairs neighbor, would like to be friends. All this interaction makes it hard for Maria to keep her secret: that she is visited by Edward, a spirit who tells her the actual secrets of Madame Destine’s clients via spirit writing. When Edward urges Maria to help Mrs. Fisher, Madame Destine’s most recent mark, Maria must overcome her shyness and her fear of her mother—helping Mrs. Fisher may be the key to the mysterious past Maria uncovers and a brighter future. Alas, picture-book–creator Ford’s middle-grade debut is a muddled, melodramatic mystery with something of an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink feel: In addition to the premise, there’s a tragically dead father, a mysterious family tree, and the Beat poets. Sluggish pacing; stilted, unrealistic dialogue; cartoonishly stock characters; and unattractive, flat illustrations make this one to miss. Maria and Sebastian are both depicted with brown skin, hers lighter than his; the other principals appear to be white.

An effort as insubstantial as any spirit. (author’s note) (Paranormal mystery. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20567-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet