Max and his great-uncle Larry, who just happens to be a bumbling ghost and a formerly unsuccessful detective, solve their second case in this accessible chapter-book series.
Falcone crafts a compelling mystery title just right for newly independent readers graduating from early readers. Sensible Max moves the plot forward with his determination to find out what happened to Zeeta and Zelda Zamboni’s 200-pound zucchini. The sisters are eager to find their prized vegetable so that they can enter it in the Harvest Fair. Max’s keen observations along with his uncle’s zany antics lead the duo to three possible suspects. Is it next-door-neighbor Mr. Leonard, whose prizewinning garden has been shadowed by the plants of the green-thumbed sisters, or possibly the wealthy and competitive Mr. Jordan? And then consider kindly Edwena Whacker, who hopes to win a bakery contract for chocolate zucchini bread and grins “so wide her eyes [disappear].” Although each of the suspects has a motive, only one leaves behind telling clues so that Max can reveal the thief in the satisfying conclusion. Even kids who may think “looking for a zucchini [is] sure to be duller than dirt” will quickly get engrossed in this humorous whodunit. The nine titled chapters are further subdivided into shorter sections to make the reading more manageable.
Introduce Max to budding detectives or children who like to laugh as they read. (Mystery. 6-10)