Monday, January 1, 2018

First Review of the New Year: The Phantom Vale by Alfred M. Struthers

Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Nathan Cole and Gina McDermott are quickly becoming two of my favorite book characters. Nathan's family inherited a bookcase full of old book from his grandfather. Each book is an old unsolved mystery. In the first book, "The Case of Secrets" we are introduced to Nathan and Gina and this special bookcase. After Nathan and Gina solve a 150 year old mystery in the first book, they and their families are hounded by the media. Their parents decide they need to get away from them all. They head up to a cabin owned by Nathan's uncle.  Before he can get everything packed a book from his dresser falls to the floor. Nathan tries a variety of things to get the book to stay. It isn't until they are in the car that he sees the book in the window and rushes back in to grab it. For some reason the book is letting him know he needs to take it with them.

His first night in the cabin he reads part of the book and discovers that the town they are staying in has its own mystery. In the late 1800s a railroad car went missing.  Nathan and Gina set out to figure out what has happened to the car. Along the way they are given clues by an old man named Wynn. What is his connection. Why does the city officer constantly follow them and Wynn around?  How can they solve this mystery when everyone in the world is looking for them and thinks if they find them they will become famous?  The clues are give through the research the kids conduct. Gina is a fan of puzzles and this mystery is a great puzzle. I wasn't as quick to make the connections as some may be.  Once I started the book I could not let it go.  This is a series you must read. I just hope the author can pop them out fast enough.

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