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by Richard Newsome & illustrated by Jonny Duddle

Age Range: 11 - 14

Pub Date: June 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-194490-1
Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Gerald, a seemingly ordinary Sydney teenager, rises to the occasion when a previously unmet great-aunt in England leaves him 20 billion pounds and a note asking him to find her murderer. He doesn’t have to look too hard, because the killer is after him, too. It all has something to do with an ancient casket that he knows nothing about, a huge, recently stolen diamond—and, as events unfold, lots of hidden doorways, underground chambers, cryptic clues, artifacts with mysterious powers, etc. Endowing his protagonist with two doughty British twins for sidekicks and blithely sweeping away most of the lifestyle complications that sudden, massive wealth would normally entail, Newsome pitches the trio into one fruitful but dangerous foray after another on the way to a properly bloody and suspenseful climax. The author is too fond of the “overheard conversation” ploy, and as this debut is the opener for a planned trilogy, there are plenty of questions left unanswered. Still, there’s no letup in the pacing, and all the tried-and-true mystery elements add up to an Anthony Horowitz–style romp. (Adventure. 11-14)