Legend of the Paymaster’s Gold

Jo Shawyer. Dundurn, $12.99 trade paper (136p) ISBN 978-1-55488-990-7
Shawyer’s expertise as a historical geographer is apparent in this YA mystery, but stodgy writing, unpersuasive portrayals of teenage protagonists, and ponderous amounts of detail fail to sustain interest. After the Jackson family, including 14-year-old twins Eadie and Sam, moves into a new house near London, Ont., the siblings quickly become involved in a search for the mythic treasure trove of the title. The park across the road from their house was the site of a battle during the War of 1812, the events of which nearly every character knows well. During the war, the paymaster for a Canadian general lost some gold in the aftermath of the battle that was never found. Once Sam and Eadie learn of the story, they dedicate themselves to trying to find it. While the steps they take to narrow down the possible location of the treasure are interesting, the underdeveloped and overly earnest characters (the phrase “This is getting better and better!” appears on multiple occasions) and tedious plot are unlikely to engage many readers. Ages 12–up. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/09/2012
Release date: 03/05/2012
Genre: Children's
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