The disappearance of both a prized antique samovar and the manuscript for the student literary magazine signals disaster for the Park School's annual Halloween fund-raiser. Worse, beloved custodian Mr. Sabatini's job may be in jeopardy if, as seems to be case, he accidentally left the school's front door unlocked. It's high time for sometimes overzealous sleuth P.J., pursued as usual by her faithful ""Watson"" Stacey and archrival Butch Bigelow, to get on the case. As P.J. scurries about snatching up clues and constructing fantastic hypotheses, the plot takes several surprising twists--all culminating in a grand denouement when the manuscript and samovar return, Sabatini's job is saved, and three culprits are fingered. P.J. plays an important role here, but other characters (even adults!) make intelligent contributions. This entertaining entry in one of the better mystery series for middle-grade readers has plenty of brainwork, little violence, and humor both high and low.