The Guggenheim Mystery by Robin Stevens. October 16, 2018. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 336 p. ISBN: 9780525582366. Int Lvl: 3-6; Rdg Lvl: 5.2; Lexile: 750.
The adventure that began in Siobhan Dowd’s popular and acclaimed novel The London Eye Mystery at long last continues with Ted, Kat, and their cousin Salim investigating a theft at the Guggenheim Museum that’s been pinned on Salim’s mother!
When Ted and his big sister, Kat, take a trip to New York to visit their cousin Salim and their aunt Gloria, they think they’re prepared for big-city adventures. But when a famous painting is stolen from the Guggenheim Museum, where Aunt Gloria works, the surprises begin to mount faster than they could have anticipated. With the police looking at Aunt Gloria as the prime suspect, Ted, Kat, and Salim become sleuthing partners, following a trail of clues across NYC to prove her innocence–and to pinpoint the real thief. Ultimately, it comes down to Ted, whose brain works in its own very unique way, to find the key to the mystery.
Sequel to: The London Eye Mystery
Part of Series: The London Eye Mysteries (Book #2)
Potentially Sensitive Areas: None
Booklist (September 15, 2018 (Vol. 115, No. 2))
Grades 5-8. Kate and Ted are visiting their cousin Salim, now in New York thanks to his mother’s new job as a curator at the Guggenheim Museum. As in their first adventure, The London Eye Mystery (2008), they are called upon to become detectives, here because a painting has been stolen and Salim’s mother arrested. The book’s narrator is 12-year-old Ted, described last time out as having a brain that “runs on a different operating system” (seemingly autism spectrum disorder); yet it’s his ability to see patterns, indiscernible to most, that allows him, with Kate and Salim’s help, to identify the real perpetrator. The previous book’s author, Siobhan Dowd, died, leaving only this sequel’s title; in an author’s note, Stevens describes how she went about constructing this novel from three words. She’s done an admirable job with the characters. Ted especially is his same quirky self, a boy both a participant in and an observer of his life. The mystery has a few creaky spots, but Stevens moves things along briskly. A welcome return for this dynamic trio.
Kirkus Reviews (July 15, 2018)
A clever junior detective must solve an art heist in this New York City–set sequel to the late Siobhan Dowd’s London Eye Mystery (2008). Twelve-year-old Ted Spark, his 14-year-old sister, Kat, and their mother, Faith, fly to the U.S. to visit Ted and Kat’s cousin Salim and eccentric aunt Gloria. Tourism soon segues into investigation when a painting at the Guggenheim, where Aunt Gloria works, goes missing and she becomes the prime suspect. Although overwhelmed by the strange city and uncertain about his friendship with Kat and Salim, Ted uses his encyclopedic knowledge, keen observation skills, and appreciation for patterns to try and prove Aunt Gloria’s innocence. Perplexed by figures of speech, Ted nonetheless embraces metaphors, relating his adventures through meteorology and Homer’s Odyssey. Although never explicitly identified as such, Ted presents as someone on the autism spectrum—literal, unfiltered, routine-oriented—but Dowd and Stevens (Murder Is Bad Manners, 2015, etc.) depict him as neither a savant nor a saintly sufferer. Rather, Ted Spark has a “funny brain, which works on a different operating system than other people’s,” much like his fictional predecessors Sherlock Holmes and Encyclopedia Brown. Ted notices racial differences, such as Salim’s brown skin, but he seems to adhere to the white default with respect to himself and the rest of the family. Fast-paced, suspenseful, but never scary, a middle-grade mystery with a singular voice and a welcome continuation of the Sparks’ adventures. (Mystery. 8-12)
About the Author
Robin Stevens was born in California and grew up in Oxford, England, across the road from the house where Alice of Alice in Wonderland lived. Robin has been making up stories all her life. She spent her teenage years at boarding school, reading a lot of murder mysteries and hoping that she’d get the chance to do some detecting herself (she didn’t). She studied crime fiction in college and then worked in children’s publishing.
Robin now lives in London with her pet bearded dragon, Watson. Her website is www.robin-stevens.co.uk
Around the Web
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