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BERNIE MAGRUDER AND THE BATS IN THE BELFRY by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

BERNIE MAGRUDER AND THE BATS IN THE BELFRY

By Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-689-85066-2
Publisher: Atheneum

The game’s afoot once again around the Bessledorf Hotel, whose quirky residents are joined by a secretive stranger, while anonymous warnings of poisonous bats, along with new church bells that play the same melody every 15 minutes, send all Middleburg into a tizzy. It seems that wealthy Mrs. Scuttlefoot left several valuable gifts to the church, and the rest of her fortune to surviving relatives, on the condition that her bells chime out “Abide with Me” until deaf old Mr. Scuttlefoot passes over. As time goes on, it begins to look more and more likely that he might get a helping hand from some maddened Middleburger. The general stress level rises even further when some very oddly behaved bats, along with a weird green glow, appear around the offending steeple. What’s going on? Leave it to young sherlock, Bernie, along with sidekicks Weasel and Georgene, to find out. With customary virtuosity, Naylor strews the tale with oddball characters, slapstick mishaps, and artful clues. In the end, bats and glow turn out to be artificial, a stratagem employed by an estranged Scuttlefoot son to keep his inheritance. As in previous episodes, however, things don’t turn out quite as planned. Another winner from this versatile veteran, replete with ingenious twists and capped by a wild Halloween night climax. (Fiction. 10-12)