Tuesday, February 18, 2014

On the Trail of....Middle Grade Mysteries!

There's a wealth of exciting middle grade mystery titles releasing in the next few months. I thought I'd highlight a few that caught my eye -- as well as one that I've already been lucky enough to read an early copy of: Indie New Voices pick Eddie Red Undercover by Marcia Wells, who we'll be hauling into the Interrogation Room very soon!

I picked up a copy of Caroline Lawrence's first P.K. Pinkerton mystery, The Case of the Deadly Desperadoes, at Oblong Books last summer and was immediately riveted. It was so wonderfully written and rich with accurate historical detail but also packed with high-stakes adventure. It's an especially great addition to school reading lists. Kids hardly notice all they're learning! The second in the series, P.K. Pinkerton and the Petrified Man, was just nominated for an Edgar. I'm looking forward to reading both soon. P.K. Pinkerton and the Pistol-Packing Widows comes out March 6.

I discovered this debut when librarian Betsy Bird was gushing about it at Fuse News. A modern Mixed Up Files? I'm in! Theodora Tenpenny discovers a Renaissance masterpiece among her late grandfather's things--yet fears it might be stolen. Her search for the truth takes her all over Manhattan, introducing her both to new friends and a new side of her own city. It sounds like my ideal book--a mix of heart, friendship, and intrigue. (Releases March 18)

During the peak of the Red Scare, rumors swirl that a suspected Russian spy has infiltrated a sleepy Vermont town. Two enterprising kids seek the truth--and discover some surprises about their town along the way! I can't think of any middle grade mysteries set in the McCarthy era, and the exploration of the mob mentality of the time seems like it would provide some great fodder for class discussion. I'm very curious about this one! (Out

Last but not least, there's Indie New Voices pick Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on the Museum Mile, coming April 1st. Once Upon A Time Bookstore bookseller Kris Vreeland handed me an early copy of this one, and I was immediately charmed by Wells' humor and authentic middle grade voice. When ace artist and sixth grader Eddie Red witnesses a crime, his suspect sketches attract the police's attention. Soon he's a critical tool in capturing a nefarious group of art thieves called The Picasso Gang. It's a fast-paced, fun read perfect for younger middle grade readers. I haven't gotten a chance to see all the illustrations, but I'm especially excited about them: I'm a big fan of illustrator Marcos Calo, who also did the cover of my debut, The Wig in the Window.

Stay tuned, as Marcia Wells will be joining us soon for an interview in The Interrogation Room!

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