Saturday, April 20, 2024

The Lost Library, by Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass

The mysterious appearance of a little free library spawns a series of other mysteries:  Why did the town’s only library burn down years ago and why was it never rebuilt?  Why are all of the books in this new little free library from that library and why were they all returned on the day the library burned down?  Why is the name of H. G. Higgins (a famous mystery writer) on one of the books?  And why won’t the grownups of the town answer fifth-grader Evan’s questions about any of this?

Told from three perspectives (Ryan, a ghost librarian, and the library’s cat Mortimer), this latest outing by Stead and Mass has all of the quirky fun (and hidden lessons) of their previous foray Bob.  I especially enjoyed Mortimer and his atypical relationship with the local mice.  It has a few flaws.  At times, the story strays into subplots that the authors don’t really seem to want to develop.  Older readers will find the mysteries largely lacking in suspense as well.  However, I found it overall to be an entertaining, brisk, and generally fun mystery novel.

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