Sunday, July 17, 2011
The Mystery of the Third Lucretia: Review
I got onto The Mystery of the Third Lucretia by Susan Runholt courtesy of the Follow That Blurb Reading Challenge. This is a middle grade mystery which stars two fourteen year old girls who are best friends and interested in art. Kari Sundgren has a mom who writes for a magazine which sends her on assignments to other countries. Lucas Stickney comes from a wealthy family who doesn't mind if she flits off on these journeys with Kari and her mom. The mystery begins when the girls are at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and a snarky painter tells them to "Go A-Way!" The man is doing a copy of one of Rembrandt's famous Lucretia paintings and makes it clear he doesn't want anyone peering over his shoulder while he works. Then Kari's mom gets assigned to a story in London and the three make a trip to Britain. Kari and Lucas are very surprised to the Gallery Guy (as they dubbed him) in disguise and painting away in front of Rembrandt's companion piece. They are sure that he's up to no good and decide to do some detective work to try and figure out what he's up to.
After an adventure that involves multiple disguises, the release of a harmless snake, and an intense argument with Gallery Guy, the girls finally see enough to reproduce his work in a painting of their own. It isn't until the next trip (scheduled for France and Italy) that they see an article about a recently discovered "third Lucretia painting by Rembrandt" which was found in the Netherlands. The girls convince Kari's mom to take a detour to Amsterdam where the adventure really begins. Young mystery lovers will enjoy the excitement that follows Kari and Lucas and trying to figure out exactly how they're going to help catch the master art criminal.
This book tells me why I don't read young adult and middle grade books much. It is a perfectly good middle grade novel. I am quite sure that young readers will love it. And I'm quite sure that I would have if it had been around when I was in my Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden phase. But I just can't get myself into the young reader mindset anymore. That's one reason why I keep thinking about rereading Nancy, but then I don't. I'm afraid I won't enjoy her anymore and I'd rather remember the books with great fondness than to be disappointed now.
I'm going to give this one three stars. The rating is for good clear writing. An interesting mystery and believable characters. The wrap-up is exciting and well done. Recommended for the young mystery lover in your life.