Disappearing Acts (Herculeah Jones Series)

Disappearing Acts (Herculeah Jones Series)

4.7 10
by Betsy Byars
     
 

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When Herculeah Jones's best friend, Meat, decides to take a comedy class, he just expects to get a few laughs. But then he discovers a dead body in the bathroom, and realizes that there's nothing funny about murder. Things can't get any worse—until the body disappears! Meat needs Herculeah's help to uncover the clues, but she's busy investigating a case of

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Overview

When Herculeah Jones's best friend, Meat, decides to take a comedy class, he just expects to get a few laughs. But then he discovers a dead body in the bathroom, and realizes that there's nothing funny about murder. Things can't get any worse—until the body disappears! Meat needs Herculeah's help to uncover the clues, but she's busy investigating a case of her own . . . one that might just change Meat's life forever!

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Mary Sue Preissner
In this newest "Herculeah Jones Mystery" book, friend Meat is featured as the protagonist, with Herculeah being the helpful buddy. Thinking that a course in comedy performance may help him overcome his issues with weight and peer relationships, Meat enrolls in a class at the Funny Bonz comedy club. In this dreary, dilapidated building, on the first night of class, Meat stumbles on the body of a girl in the men's bathroom, only to have it disappear, leaving class members with the impression that Meat is a practical joker. While Meat does his own sleuthing, Herculeah is caught up in her own mystery, a result of another of her visits to the second-hand shop, Hidden Treasures. She has purchased a camera and developed the film, finding pictures of Meat as a very young child with an unidentified man. As both mysteries come to a close, Meat is united with his long-absent father and readers learn that his mom was never comfortable with dad's choice of occupation. However, Meat is proud of his dad. Only criticism: aficionados of WWF wrestling may get confused with the mingling of fictional characters with popular wrestlers of a few years ago.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7Herculeah Jones, the girl whose hair frizzes whenever danger lurks, is back. This time, there are actually two mysteries to solve. The first involves pictures on an unfinished roll of film that Herculeah finds inside a camera she purchases at a resale shop. The second puzzle revolves around finding out about a dead body that her friend Meat claims to have seen at the comedy club where he is taking classes. The overweight boy finds the body in a bathroom stall, but it disappears before anyone else sees it. Meat is a reluctant detective, but, with a wallet he picked up from the bathroom floor as his only clue, he embarks on a mission to prove what he saw. Herculeah, on the other hand, is so involved in her photos that she leaves her friend to solve the case with minimal help from her or her detective dad, Chico Jones. The clues are nicely wrapped up at the finish. The novel is fast paced and humorous with both characters learning about themselves while working on their respective problems. By the end, Meat also learns who his father is and discovers that his bulk can become as asset. The book can stand alone, but Herculeah's fans will not be disappointed.Linda L. Plevak, Alamo Area Library System, San Antonio, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Frizzing up whenever danger threatens, amateur sleuth Herculeah Jones's hair gets a real workout in this tale of murder, weight, and family secrets. The spotlight is on Herculeah's chunky friend, Meat, who finds a corpse in the restroom of the local comedy club. Moments later, the body's gonealthough a trail of clues remains. Meanwhile, on the film from an old camera, Herculeah finds pictures of Meat's long-absent father, and believes she must conceal them. Byars (Tarot Says Beware, 1995, etc.) keeps readers on the edges of their seats with alternating shocks, cliff- hangers, and revelations; she throws in plenty of red herrings, plus tantalizing references to Herculeah's past and future cases before closing with a dazzling series of twists: Not only does the killer turn out to be a sympathetic sort who strangled her comedian boyfriend for telling "fat" jokes at her expense (in a mordant denouement, she and Meat reel off a series), but contrary to Herculeah's expectations, Meat is thrilled to learn that his father is Macho Man, a WrestleMania regular. Some plot elements get short shrift, but several characters show surprising depth, and readers should be prepared to read this in one breathless sitting. (Fiction. 10-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142405666
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
09/21/2006
Series:
Herculeah Jones Series
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
617,731
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 6.98(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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