An intrepid lover of stories and her two best friends crack the case of the missing library books.
Viviani and her family, based in fact, live in the superintendent’s apartment of the New York Public Library in the 1920s. She and her brothers and friends solved a spooky mystery in their first outing, The Story Collector (2018). Now the librarians are dealing with the theft of several rare and irreplaceable medical books. Noticing a pattern to the thefts, Viviani is determined to solve the case. At the same time, she is excited to enter a writing contest for the New York Times about friendship. With Millions of Cats as her inspiration, the proudly self-styled “story collector” wins the contest. Tubb portrays the 11-year-old as an unabashed book enthusiast with a fondness for codes. The major characters all present as white with exceptions in the form of friends Eva from Armenia and Merit from Egypt—with Viviani, they become a trio known as the Moppets. With librarians who possess a special shushing power, a tuberculosis epidemic, and a theatrical outing, readers get a brief glimpse of period New York City life. Each chapter is labeled with a Dewey Decimal subject and number as well as see-also references. The answers to the codes that help solve the crime are revealed in the back of the book. (Black-and-white full-page line drawings not seen.)
Patterns, codes, mysteries, and storytelling are an appealing middle-grade draw. (author’s note) (Historical mystery. 9-12)