- May 26 & 27 - All libraries CLOSED for Memorial Day
Donald Sobol, the author of the Encyclopedia Brown series died on July 11th. He was 87 years old.
Encyclopedia Brown has been a staple for 2nd and 3rd grade readers for decades. Each book features several short mysteries which remain unsolved until you check the back of the book for the answer. I've always considered these books great for reluctant readers and for budding mystery fans.
His last book, Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Soccer Scheme is scheduled to be published and next year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of his first Encyclopedia Brown book.
Thanks for the mysteries!
An enigmatic pair of lovers arrives at Marrakesh’s Jemaa el Fna square, captivates merchants and onlookers, and mysteriously disappears. Hassan the storyteller, whose brother is implicated in the crime, relates the event, while his listeners interrupt, giving their own memories and interpretations. As the story progresses, fascinating details are revealed about the city of Marrakesh, its visitors and inhabitants.
Author Joydeep Roy Bhattacharya tells about the writing of the book in his interview here.
It all started with my sister-in-law. She’s a self-proclaimed Romaphile, and she gave me a paperback copy of Silver Pigs, a mystery novel set in ancient Rome. It’s the first in the Marcus Didius Falco series by Lindsey Davis, and it’s great. Private informer Falco tries to be a first-century tough guy, but he falls hard for a smart young lady of a noble Roman family and finds his life becoming more complicated. The author uses tension and humor deftly to keep the reader hurtling through the complicated storylines.
Younger readers will enjoy the Roman Mysteries series by Caroline Lawrence. I was lucky enough years ago to hear the author in person at the King Library, and I knew immediately if she wrote as well as she lectured, I would enjoy her books. I was hooked from the first title, The Thieves of Ostia. Twelve-year-old Flavia Gemina and her friends Jonathan, Nubia, and Lupus solve mysteries during the reign of Vespasian. The books are not for the very young, due to some scary situations, and life in ancient Rome is portrayed pretty accurately, blood and all. In the first book, the mystery involves dogs being killed in the port town of Ostia. I recommend this series for middle-school ages and up, including young-at-heart adults. The series has just recently concluded, but Lawrence is starting two new series, a Roman spin-off for younger readers and one set in the Old West.
It looks like Lindsey Davis is still going strong, but inbetween Falco books, I'll probably start reading the Gordianus the Finder series by Steven Saylor, now that my appetite has been whetted for Roman mystery novels. As my “must read” list of authors and series keeps growing, I guess it’s inevitable that I fall behind a bit, but I have added my favorite authors to my account's Saved Searches / New Item Alerts, added the newer series titles to My Lists, and I hope to catch up eventually. Luckily, all three of these series are available through the SJPL Library, saving me tons of money and bookshelf space!
Winston Breen loves puzzles - all kinds of puzzles. So when he is asked by his school principal to be on a team to play in an all day puzzle competition for a chance to win $50,000 for the school, he is psyched. Of course he picks his two best friends Mal and Jake to be on the team with him. The only kink in the works is that they are required to have a teacher chaperone them on the hunt - and not just any teacher but one of the most unpopular teachers at school... Mr. Garvey. Still, Winston is determined not to let Mr. Garvey ruin his excitement at the prospect of a day of puzzling.
As the day of the event begins though, it quickly becomes apparent that they are all dealing with more than just solving puzzles. While several of the teams are competitive, someone on one of the other teams is not just competitive but a saboteur... determined to win at all costs even if that means cheating. Will Winston and his friends be able to solve all the puzzles before the other teams do and also learn the identity of the mystery cheater? Read The Potato Chip Puzzles by Eric Berlin to find out.
If you enjoy solving puzzles too, you will also have the chance to play along as Winston and his team come across the puzzles in the story. All answers are provided at the end for you to check yourself.
If you are a fan of Carl Hiaasen's previous books Hoot and Flush, you'll be sure to gain more than enough satisfaction and laughs from another of his patented ecological-mysteries, Scat, set in the author's home state of Florida.
This time Hiaasen is writing about an unliked and unpopular biology teacher who has seemingly vanished after a field trip to Black Vine Swamp. Of course there's more going on than meets the eye and our two main protagonists Nick and Marta are interested in finding out what, exactly, is behind the mysterious disappearance. Their guess is that classmate and resident troublemaker Smoke is behind the whole mess and in fact he is, but not how anybody could have imagined. Hiaasen has again created a cast of goofy and memorable characters that all comes back to an endangered Florida panther (hence the title) who is more than a little annoyed by what's going on in the swamp and its natural surroundings.
Great story, funny characters, and ecological relevance ...
Carl Hiaasen at his writer-for-young readers finest. Check it out.
Child abductions appear in the headlines from time to time and capture the attention of the public. The media outlets interview distraught family members and flash pictures of the missing child on our TV screens or in the papers. The public imagines the living hell of the parents and family members as they search in anguish.
The Year of Fog takes the reader into the lives of adults left searching and wondering in the aftermath of a sudden child abduction. The story opens on a foggy morning in early summer, on a San Francisco beach, when photographer Abby Mason turns her attention for a few seconds away from her fiancee Jake's daughter, Emma. Was the six year old swept out to sea? Was she snatched by strangers? As the months pass, and even Emma's father has given up the search for his child, Abby's quest for answers and atonement for her failure to keep Emma safe continues, as she walks the streets of the city by day or night, reliving the fateful moment and calling up emotional memories of her own past. The novel reads like a mystery as Abby tries to piece together the events of that morning with the help of her spotty recollection, hypnotists, the local surfing community and the photographs she snapped as Emma ran ahead of her on the sand. Silicon Valley Reads selection, 2011.