A ghostly (but not scary) new chapter-book mystery series kicks off.
Due to his father’s extensive travel, 10-year-old Max is sent to live with his beloved grandpa Harry. Soon he discovers his uncle Larry is living there, too—only he died quite a while ago and is now a ghost! When he was alive, Uncle Larry aspired to be a famous detective but never solved one case. Just as Max is taking this all in, the phone rings: An old friend of Larry’s is on the line, looking for help in solving a case of a missing girl who disappeared in the middle of her birthday party. Max and Larry take on the case with comic results. Larry is as bumbling now as he was in life, but Max can rely on what he has learned from the mystery books he loves. Together they search for clues and create a list of suspects. Is it the sullen older sister or the grumpy clown that makes balloon animals or the sassy neighbor? Falcone keeps readers guessing and pages turning with humorous dialogue and a quickly paced plot. The chapters, already short, are subdivided into scenes for ease of reading. For those wanting to test their observation skills, a “Spot the Difference” pair of illustrations is at the back of the book.
Young investigators will appreciate this accessible mystery, and they’ll look forward to the next title, The Missing Zucchini (2014). (Mystery. 6-10)