cover image Eat Your Poison, Dear: A Sebastian Barth Mystery

Eat Your Poison, Dear: A Sebastian Barth Mystery

James Howe. Atheneum Books, $16 (139pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31206-9

As original and well constructed as Howe's Stage Fright and What Eric Knew, this is the third in the series that stars the smart teenager Sebastian Barth. In the cafeteria at Pembroke Middle School, Sebastian and his friends are aghast when the ""inspired'' cook, Miss Swille, celebrates apple month with apple lasagna, apple chili dogs and other offenses. Nobody is surprised when Milo Groot is sickened after lunch. Even when he seems to have been poisoned, the students react mildly: Milo is universally disliked and his classmates joke that anyone could have slipped a toxin into his food. At first, only Milo suffers. Later, however, 77 school children are made seriously ill and hospitalized, a fact that the principal tries to cover up as a flu epidemic. Sebastian vows to find out the truth and publish it. Readers will be intent on unraveling the mystery and be dazzled by the triple shock in the windup. (8-12)