With heaps of Southern charm and the homespun humor of a favorite uncle, Turnage presents the spirited follow-up to her Newbery Honor debut, Three Times Lucky (2012).
Just as its predecessor did, this sequel shines thanks to Turnage’s deft, lyrical language and engaging characters. Mo LoBeau and her Desperado Detective Agency cohort, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, are sixth graders now. When a purportedly haunted historic inn goes on auction and Mo’s guardian, Miss Lana, wins the bid, Mo is determined to use her detecting skills to find the ghost. Dale isn’t so sure, but Mo is a force of nature when she sets her mind. But Dale fears Mo has gone too far when, in a fit of one-upmanship with her archnemesis Anna “Attila” Celeste Simpson, Mo declares that she and Dale will do a class project on the town’s oldest citizen. Turnage crafts a laugh-out-loud scene: “It would mean extra credit,” Miss Retzyl points out. “Extra credit looms large with Dale, who specializes in the Recess Arts.... Attila flashed her braces. ‘There isn’t anyone older [than Mayor Little’s mother], Mo-ron’....My temper popped like bacon on a hot skillet. ‘There is too somebody older....Dale and me are interviewing a ghost.’ ” Naturally, Mo and Dale learn as much about growing up as they do about spirits from the great beyond.
This delightful sequel demonstrates that Tupelo Landing may be even better on a second visit. (Mystery. 10-14)