One of my co-workers brought me Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage, saying it was a fun mystery, and she thought I would like it. She knows I'll read a good mystery, even when it's a juvenile book. And, Turnage introduces wonderful characters in a story filled with humor and drama.
Welcome to Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, where "rising sixth grader" Miss Moses LoBeau tells the story of the summer she was eleven when a stranger, Detective Joe Starr, walked into the cafe owned my Mo's stepparents. Suddenly, an ordinary summer is not so ordinary. The stingiest man in town is murdered. Mo's best friend, Dale, is a suspect. Mo and Dale form the Desperado Detectives to figure it all out, but that's before a kidnapping that comes too close to home for Mo, and the hurricane that blows in some answers.
It's hard to resist a book that starts with "Trouble cruised into Tupelo Landing at exactly seven minutes past noon on Wednesday, the third of June, flashing a gold badge and driving a Chevy Impala the color of dirt. Almost before the dust had settled, Mr. Jesse turned up dead and life in Tupelo Landing turned upside down."
And, it's hard to resist Mo, a precocious young girl who runs the cafe when she needs to, and yearns for answers to her own past. She was found as a baby strapped to a board raft during a hurricane, with the man who became her stepfather, the Colonel, clinging to the raft with no memory of his past. Mo sends jars up the river with letters addressed to her "Upstream Mother", the woman who must have strapped her to that board in the midst of a hurricane. She adores her stepparents, talks her way out of situations, wants to marry Dale's much older brother, and doesn't realize how much the town loves her until tragedy strikes.
Three Times Lucky might be written for an audience of ten to fourteen-year-olds. But, consider yourself lucky if you have the chance to meet Mo LoBeau in this charming mystery.
Sheila Turnage's website is www.sheilaturnage.com
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage. Dial Books for Readers. 2012. ISBN 9780803736702 (hardcover), 312p.
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