This fast-paced, National Treasure–style mystery puts an imaginative spin on the real story behind the infamous theft of several masterpieces from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.
Thirteen-year-old Moxie discovers that her beloved Grumps, now languishing in a home for Alzheimer’s patients, may have been involved in the much-publicized art heist. She knows he had been employed as a fixer for criminal elements in his shady past but does not know any specifics. Extra drama is added in the form of a sinister, even sadistic redheaded woman who acts on behalf of notorious crime boss Sully Cupcakes (yes, really) and who loses no opportunity to threaten Moxie with a fate worse than death if she does not find and return the stolen art within two weeks. This puts Moxie in a serious quandary. She can either go to the police and risk Grumps’ arrest, or she can confess all to her mother and risk being permanently exiled from Boston to New Hampshire at the behest of Mom’s new boyfriend. Either way, Moxie feels compelled to undertake the search for the missing art, aided by Ollie, her trusty sidekick and a geocaching whiz. With the help of her considerable math smarts and namesake moxie, our heroine manages to protect her family and track down the missing art, with unexpected consequences. Moxie narrates the breathless, action-packed tale in a humorous first person, maintaining the suspense almost to the end.
The caper should appeal to readers looking for a lot of action, a few puzzles and not a lot of depth. (Thriller. 10-15)