The Mystery of the Martello Tower
  • The Mystery of the Martello Tower
  • The Mystery of the Martello Tower

The Mystery of the Martello Tower

5.0 1
by Jennifer Lanthier
     
 

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Hazel and Ned are home for summer vacation and looking forward to long, lazy days of sleeping late, shooting hoops, building stink bombs, and spending time with their art-dealer father. But when he disappears without saying good-bye, their summer plunges into chaos. The babysitter leaves town, their apartment is burgled, and two menacing thugs start turning up

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Overview

Hazel and Ned are home for summer vacation and looking forward to long, lazy days of sleeping late, shooting hoops, building stink bombs, and spending time with their art-dealer father. But when he disappears without saying good-bye, their summer plunges into chaos. The babysitter leaves town, their apartment is burgled, and two menacing thugs start turning up everywhere. Ned and Hazel try escaping to an island castle belonging to long-lost relatives, only to find there's no escaping this adventure. As the siblings work to untangle the threads that ensnare their father, they learn of a second, darker secret—one that surrounds their mother's death years ago. Only by solving both mysteries can they bring their father home.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kathleen Isaacs
When their father is mysteriously called away and his study is burgled, eleven-year-old Hazel and her brainy little brother Ned embark on an adventure that leads to the disclosure of family secrets and the capture of a pair of swindlers. A secretive, apparently wealthy art dealer, Colin Frump, has never told his children anything about their family except that their mother died eight years earlier. But Hazel discovers the name of a relative on an e-mail on her father's computer and in fear that the burglars may return, they make contact and arrange to visit their home on an island in Lake Ontario. The home is a castle, familiar to Ned from paintings he has studied; it overlooks a tower Hazel recognizes from her dreams. But the tower now seems to be sheltering the same man they fear burglarized their apartment. Readers are drawn into believing this complex set of circumstances through sympathy with the two children, frantically attempting to seem grown-up enough to manage on their own when the adults around them, for various reasons, disappear. With the help of new-found cousins they find the connections between the buildings, learn why their father was so secretive, and do their father's work for him. Fans of mysteries in the Nancy Drew mold, where villains are clear, clues abound, and children are in control, will welcome this first novel by a Canadian journalist and wait eagerly for the next. Reviewer: Kathleen Isaacs
School Library Journal

Gr 4-8- Hazel Frump spends the week before her 12th birthday tackling two mysteries. She yearns to know more about her mother, who died long ago, and she faces the unexplained disappearance of her father, a Toronto art dealer. Hazel and her younger brother follow their father's paper trail, encountering shady art dealers and a long-lost branch of their family tree. The siblings join their newfound cousins on Ile du Loup in the St. Lawrence River, and together they piece together the hidden truths behind both of Hazel's mysteries. The Martello tower is a structure designed to guard a port or town, and it, too, plays a role in Hazel's discoveries. The novel contains enough red herrings and dead ends to build suspense and draw readers to its lively denouement. The ways in which family and art mix together emotionally ground the story and balance out occasional stilted writing and abrupt transitions. Lanthier has packed the story with a dizzying number of details, and the fact that the children end up without any adult presence seems contrived. That said, the mystery is tightly plotted, the setting emerges distinctly, and the art angle will please fans of Blue Balliett's Chasing Vermeer (Scholastic, 2004).-Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT

Kirkus Reviews
While Hazel Frump is almost 12 and her brother Ned is only nine-and-a-half, they're closer than most siblings. Their eccentric, wealthy father has vanished, leaving them with their artist neighbor Frankie, who helps run the family art gallery. After Hazel finds some mysterious e-mail messages while snooping in her dad's office, soon both kids are off to Canada to discover relatives and a family estate they never knew existed. Hazel's a whiz at basketball and Ned's specialty is chemistry; both skills come in handy as a major art fraud is uncovered, and worry over their father sends Frankie to Turkey to get him released from prison. Family secrets, underground passages, annoying bullies, hidden staircases, wild hailstorms and dastardly criminals pepper the plot, often distracting readers from solutions that are not, in the end, terribly obscure. Despite this flaw, the large cast of characters and the multiple puzzles combine to form a traditional mystery that is satisfyingly resolved. The somewhat drawn-out ending may indicate future adventures for the Frumps. (Fiction. 10-14)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061257124
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/13/2008
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
740L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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