The Sance

Iain Lawrence, Author . Delacorte $15.99 (262p) ISBN 978-0-385-73375-5

Mystery lovers will get a kick out of this rollicking whodunit featuring swashbuckling soothsayers, outlandish séances, magic tricks and more. Set in the Roaring 20s, the fact-based narrative follows Scooter King, a sharp-witted 13-year-old who finds a dead body in Harry Houdini's Burmese Torture Tank and vows to unmask the murderer before he or she strikes again. Meanwhile, Scooter's mother is grasping at fame as a spiritual medium—albeit by counting on Scooter to manipulate various instruments and gadgets behind the scenes—and fighting off Houdini's attempts to expose fortunetelling frauds. The storytelling is pure fun, as the author uses flavorful period details (Scooter's mother says that even a “Bolshevik” could make himself rich: “All you have to do now is sit long enough on a flagpole, or dance the Charleston until you nearly drop dead”), and Scooter, the narrator, gets his perspective across with plenty of slang (“a lot of applesauce”; “the eel's hips”). As if staging a magic show of his own, Lawrence (The Wreckers ) builds suspense and adds plot twists right up until the climactic conclusion. Ages 8–12. (July)

Reviewed on: 07/07/2008
Release date: 07/01/2008
Genre: Children's
Open Ebook - 163 pages - 978-0-375-84885-8
Library Binding - 262 pages - 978-0-385-90392-9
Paperback - 263 pages - 978-0-440-23970-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4561-0562-4
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