As soon as 17-year-old Francie receives a distraught phone call from her great-aunts Astrid and Jeannette in the small town of Walpurgis, Minn., she hops on a plane from New York City to check on them. But when her aunts ask her to look into their neighbors’ possible murders (Francie, an actor, once played a kid detective on a children’s TV show, and the reputation has stuck) she wonders if their nuttiness has turned to paranoia. They are certain that a local real-estate broker, who is buying up cabins to replace with a road and condo developments, is somehow to blame. As Francie delves into investigative work, interviewing neighbors and potential suspects, she also collects clues about her father’s death and her mother’s disappearance and begins to question where she herself belongs. In a departure from her previous historical fiction, Preus (West of the Moon) delivers a quick-moving mystery whose lovely descriptions of the Minnesota landscape add a pleasing layer of smalltown Midwestern atmosphere. The slightly open-ended conclusion ending will leave readers ready for a sequel. Ages 10–up. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/26/2015 Release date: 03/01/2015 Genre: Children's
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