Case of the Haunted Health Club

Carol Farley, Author, Tim Newsom, Illustrator
Carol Farley, Author, Tim Newsom, Illustrator Avon Books $2.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-380-75918-7
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In this sequel to The Case of the Vanishing Villain , Flee Jay, 12, and her genius sister Clarice, 10, investigate the weird goings-on at a health club that is undergoing renovation. The place is owned by Emma Vickers, a former fortune teller, and her nephew, Emmett, a would-be college student, but a wealthy entrepreneur has been pressuring them to sell the property to him. Fake blood in the Jacuzzi, threatening notes and a broken mirror have the sisters and the Vickerses mystified. Farley's absorbing, well-thought-out whodunit is perfect for middle graders. There's no patronizing here; information is cleverly deduced from clues, and explanations for the aforementioned capers avoid the obvious. The comedic tone of the first-person narrative gives Flee Jay an accessible allure. A gentle sibling rivalry subplot is entwined throughout the story as well. Ages 8-12. (Feb.)
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