The world record–setting Whipple family faces off against the rival Goldwins in the World Record World Championships.
A string of bad luck has fallen upon the Whipple family, and black sheep Arthur Whipple has taken it upon himself to investigate the series of unfortunate events that continuously derails his family's quest for glory. The prime suspects are the Goldwins, an up-and-coming team that has the World Record World Championship in their sights. The bizarre mystery weaving throughout Ward's sequel includes vandalism, bribery, murder and kidnapping. Unfortunately, this promising concept is smothered by stylization and padding. There's simply no reason for this story to be stretched across 375 pages, other than to indulge the author's apparent fondness for over-the-top buffoonery and narrative dead ends. The final straw is reached during the book's last chapter, in which the mystery is resolved not by Arthur and his clever sleuthing but instead a letter left behind by the guilty party. This letter spans 10 pages. Readers deserve better than 10 solid pages of exposition at the end of the book explaining who did what to whom and why—and setting up the third Whipple adventure, one few readers will likely be interested in.
An exciting premise destroyed by tedious plotting. (Fiction. 8-12)