Finally, Something Mysterious

Doug Cornett. Knopf, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-9848-3003-6
Paul Marconi, 11, loves to solve mysteries with his best friends, Shanks and Peephole, aka the “One and Onlys.” All only children, they are the perfect team of sleuths: level-headed Paul “sniffed out the mysteries,” fearless Shanks takes risks, and anxious Peephole’s photographic memory documents crime scenes. Their sleepy community is preparing for its annual bratwurst cook-off, despite a wildfire burning beyond the town. When hundreds of rubber duckies mysteriously appear on the front lawn of Mr. Babbage, five-time bratwurst champion, the One and Onlys want to know who put them there. But Officer Portnoy won’t let them near the evidence, Peephole is worried about the imminent birth of a sibling, and the whole town is preoccupied with the competition. Cornett caters nicely to his audience with amusing scenes—one suspect serenades the duckies with a tuba—and caricature, as with Portnoy, a classically clueless cop. The mystery slowly unspools with well-placed clues and red herrings, while subplots, such as the arrival of an ominous new megastore, lend depth to the lighthearted mystery. With the hint of more to come, the One and Onlys seem primed to become a popular trio among readers who enjoy an old-fashioned whodunit. Ages 8–12. Agent: Penelope Burns, Gelfman Schneider/ICM Partners. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 03/05/2020
Release date: 04/14/2020
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 256 pages - 978-1-9848-3004-3
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