In this easy, breezy mystery, Laurie and Bud spend their summer planning a scavenger hunt, discovering a secret room and solving a missing person case.
After saving their school by finding the solution to a puzzle left behind by eccentric founder Maria Tutweiler (The Lost Treasure of Tuckernuck, 2012), Laurie and Bud, rising seventh-graders, are at school laying out the next hunt when they find a secret room kept by Maria Tutweiler. They have grand ideas about how to use it, but if villain Walker LeFranco has his way, they never will. He is still trying to shut down Tuckernuck Hall, this time by accusing Maria Tutweiler of having murdered Marchetti the Magician decades ago. Organized crime and an assumed identity come to light, but the young sleuths, aided by quirky Misti and former rival Calliope, will not be able to clear Maria Tutweiler’s name unless they can make a little bird sing. Really: Marchetti left a mechanical bird in the room that can reveal the truth—if they can figure out how it works. Readers who have not met the characters before may find them a bit two-dimensional here, but their sassy repartee is spot-on and comical, providing the real magic in the story. As before, lists, notes, emails and articles add depth.
Fans of the first book will be glad to rejoin this unlikely team of detectives. (Mystery. 8-12)