Finding the Forger a Bianca Balducci Mystery

Overview

Bianca Balducci, everybody’s favorite teenage amateur sleuth, is back on the case, and this time the resourceful Baltimorean has her hands more than full. On top of school (St. John’s), her two bickering friends (Kerrie and Sarah), and boy trouble (Doug), Bianca is brought in to prove the innocence of Hector, Sarah’s latest heart throb, who’s considered the prime suspect in a clever switcheroo at the local art museum—several paintings have gone missing, and forgeries hung in their place. But things get awfully ...

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Finding the Forger: A Bianca Balducci Mystery

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Overview

Bianca Balducci, everybody’s favorite teenage amateur sleuth, is back on the case, and this time the resourceful Baltimorean has her hands more than full. On top of school (St. John’s), her two bickering friends (Kerrie and Sarah), and boy trouble (Doug), Bianca is brought in to prove the innocence of Hector, Sarah’s latest heart throb, who’s considered the prime suspect in a clever switcheroo at the local art museum—several paintings have gone missing, and forgeries hung in their place. But things get awfully complicated when Connie, Bianca’s PI older sister, is hired by the museum to formally investigate the crime. And that’s just the half of it. Doug, Bianca’s fabulous new boyfriend, isn't paying as much attention to her as she'd like, while a charming and rich Brit named Neville seems more than willing to take Doug’s place. Finding the Forger, the sequel to the acclaimed series debut Uncovering Sadie’s Secrets, proves to be another hilarious adventure in the world of Bianca Balducci, regular teenager turned mystery solver extraordinaire.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
Analytical Bianca Balducci and her best friends, Kerrie and Sadie, are back to entertain readers in this sequel to Uncovering Sadie's Secrets (Bancroft, 2002). This time Bianca finds herself smack in the middle of a case involving art forgery and theft at a local museum where Sadie works part-time. When Bianca's private eye sister, Connie, is hired to investigate the crime, the plot thickens. Unfortunately the chief suspect is Hector, a museum security guard and Sadie's new love interest. Further complicating matters, Sadie and Kerrie are not getting along, forcing Bianca to mediate between them, and Bianca's boyfriend Doug seems to be paying far too much attention to Kerrie while Neville, a suave English boy, is trying to sweep Bianca off her feet. This lively and captivating mystery is even more fun than the first. In spite of all her worries, brave Bianca manages to solve the mystery just in time to come to the rescue of Connie, who has been kidnapped by the criminal. In spite of a few confusing twists, the plot comes together nicely in the end, with the forger having been caught, Bianca and Doug having made up, and Kerrie and Sarah getting along again. Bianca is as loveable as ever, and female readers will identify with her frustration concerning her family members, her friends, Doug, and of course, the upcoming Mistletoe Dance. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2004, Bancroft Press, 192p., and Trade pb. Ages 11 to 15.
—Dotsy Harland
Kirkus Reviews
This second installment in a series of mysteries featuring Bianca Balducci, 15-year-old detective wannabe, has the feisty sophomore involved in tracking down an art thief. The mystery takes second place in this story, providing a support to a plot primarily concerned with humor and relationships. Bianca risks losing boyfriend Doug as she allows jealousy of her best friend Kerrie-who is spending altogether too much time with Doug-to interfere with both relationships. Meanwhile, Bianca meets handsome, sexy, and very British Neville, the son of a wealthy member of the board of the local art museum, where someone has been replacing valuable modern art with forgeries. Sternberg throws in a couple of nice red herrings along with some action sequences that make the story satisfying, but keeps her focus on the kind of humor that should appeal to high-school readers. (Fiction. 12-15)
Kirkus Reviews
"Sternberg throws in a couple of nice red herrings along with some action sequences that make the story satisfying, but keeps her focus on the kind of humor that should appeal to high-school readers. (Fiction, 12-15)”
School Library Journal
“Bianca is an extremely likable character: smart, funny, and able to find humor in the worst situations. The author does a great job of capturing her voice, conveying all of Bianca's insecurities and doubts as well as her triumphs. Although the second in a series, the novel can stand alone, but readers will undoubtedly want to check out Uncovering Sadie's Secrets (Bancroft, 2003) to fill in the gaps. An entertaining read.”
Booklist -
“What’s fun about this is Bianca’s first-person voice––droll, yet totally teen. Bianca is a kid who seems very real. A good alternative to Nancy Drew.”
VOYA, 4Q*4P*M*J
"This lively and captivating mystery is even more fun than the first. In spite of all her worries, brave Bianca manages to solve the mystery just in time to come to the rescue of Connie, who has been kidnapped by the criminal. Bianca is as lovable as ever, and female readers will identify with her frustration concerning her family members, her friends, Doug, and of course, the upcoming Mistletoe Dance.”
Angela McQuay, Mystery Morgue
"Libby Sternberg’s second Bianca Balducci mystery is simply a delight to read. Bianca is one of the funniest characters to come out of young adult fiction in years, and her inner monologue is impossible to resist. Add to this an interesting mystery, colorful supporting characters, and perfect pacing, and you have a book that’s perfect for kids and adults alike."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781890862374
  • Publisher: Bancroft Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2004
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

A Baltimore native, Libby earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music and also attended the summer American School of Music in Fontainebleau, France. After graduating from Peabody, she worked as a Spanish gypsy, a Russian courtier, a Middle-Eastern slave, a Japanese geisha, a Chinese peasant, and a French courtesan—that is, she sang as a union chorister in both the Baltimore and Washington Operas, where she regularly had the thrill of walking through the stage doors of the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C. before being costumed and wigged for performance. She also sang with small opera and choral companies in the region.

For many years, she and her family lived in Vermont, where she worked as an education reform advocate promoting school choice policies, contributed occasional commentaries to Vermont Public Radio, and was a member of the Vermont Commission on Women.

Libby’s first young adult novel, Uncovering Sadie’s Secrets, was a finalist for the prestigious Edgar Allan Poe award from the Mystery Writers of America. The second in her Bianca Balducci mystery series, Finding the Forger, was released in hardcover in November 2004 (both were published as mass-market paperbacks by Smooch). Her debut adult novel, Loves Me, Loves Me Not (published under the name Libby Malin) was released in 2005 to critical acclaim.

She is married, has three children, and lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    solid young adult amateur sleuth

    The police believe that City Art Museum security guard and college student Hector Gonzalez is a suspect in an art forgery scam. Worried for her boyfriend, high school senior Sarah decides to hire private investigator Connie Balducci to prove his innocence. Connie¿s sophomore sister Bianca insisting she works for her sibling (well almost ¿ she is on the short list for a summer clerk job) ¿interrogates¿ Sarah until the older woman breaks down and explains why she needs a sleuth.--- Emboldened by her recent success in helping Sarah (see UNCOVERING SADIE'S SECRETS) Bianca investigates to help Sarah. Bianca also tries to help her best friend Kerrie as her pal detests how much the newcomer to her family, Sarah, has become the focus of her parents. Connie wants Bianca to cease her inquiries, but soon helps her younger sister. Bianca becomes upset when her boyfriend Doug spends too much time with Kerrie and not with her. Still sleuthing is obviously in her genes so Bianca begins snooping as only a teen can.--- Though obviously targeted for teen readers, adults (especially us geriatrics who cut our teeth on Nancy Drew) will enjoy this solid amateur sleuth (sorry Bianca, but the pro gets paid) investigative tale. Bianca is a delightful lead character whose asides to the audience are witty as the ¿weight of the universe¿ pressures of loving relationships, complex investigations and botched home perms are wryly explained. The who-done-it is cleverly designed assuming that the audience can think rather than just dumbed down as Libby Sternberg respects the young crowd that serves as the center of FINDING THE FORGER.--- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2004

    A Great Mystery for Teens and Adults

    As a young adult librarian, I¿ve found that it¿s difficult to find young adult mysteries that are as appealing to teens as they are to adults. So, it was with great pleasure that I was introduced to Libby Sternberg¿s Bianca Balducci series. FINDING THE FORGER, the sequel to the Edgar finalist UNCOVERING SADIE¿S SECRETS, continues the adventures of fifteen year-old Bianca as she again follows her nosy inclinations to help her friends and annoy her family. Although Bianca helped to clear Sarah in the previous mystery, things still aren¿t going rosy for the teen. Sarah¿s foster sister resents her, there¿s shady happenings going on in the museum where she works, and her security guard boyfriend has just gotten accused of engineering an elaborate art forgery and death scheme. So naturally Bianca decides to do what she can to help, even if this extremely irritates her older sister Connie, a struggling private investigator who reluctantly gets involved in Bianca¿s escapades. What with Bianca¿s boyfriend Doug getting a little too close to her friend Kerrie, a young Hugh Grant lookalike giving Bianca his attentions, and a whole lot of Christmas shopping to get done, Bianca has more than her share of problems. But there¿s always time to investigate, even if her older sister refuses to make her a partner in her investigation business. Sternberg has created a wonderful character with Bianca, whose observations are as hilarious as they are true. She also definitely remains a teenager, as a home permanent from hell disrupts her life as much as the rampant crimes. Adults as well as teens will be able to relate to her problems, and the mystery will keep readers riveted to its speedy end. For fans who love the level of humor and wit of Buffy the Vampire Slayer will also enjoy this series, which is appropriate for younger teens as well as older ones. Bianca is the Nancy Drew of today¿s generation.

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