The Mystery of the Third Lucretia

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Overview

If it hadn't been for Lucas's photographic memory, they might not have remembered the man. It had been almost a year since she and Kari noticed him copying a famous Rembrandt painting in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. But now in the National Gallery in London, they spot the same guy, copying another Rembrandt. Then, when a never-before-seen Rembrandt painting is discovered in Amsterdam, the girls begin to suspect the truth. Convinced that no one will believe them without hard and fast evidence, the teenage ...

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The Mystery of the Third Lucretia

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Overview

If it hadn't been for Lucas's photographic memory, they might not have remembered the man. It had been almost a year since she and Kari noticed him copying a famous Rembrandt painting in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. But now in the National Gallery in London, they spot the same guy, copying another Rembrandt. Then, when a never-before-seen Rembrandt painting is discovered in Amsterdam, the girls begin to suspect the truth. Convinced that no one will believe them without hard and fast evidence, the teenage sleuths embark on a madcap adventure to find the forger and bring him to justice.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
AGERANGE: Ages 12 to 15.

An exciting mystery, featuring two smart 9th-grade girls and their travel to Paris, Amsterdam, and London. Lucretia is the Roman wife Rembrandt and other painters featured in their art. Two famous paintings by Rembrandt are of Lucretia, and the third Lucretia of the title is in fact a forgery. Kari and Lucas (a girl) are given the chance to follow Kari’s mother as she travels as a reporter/editor for The Scene, which covers European fashions. But their mystery starts right at home, at the Art Institute of Minneapolis. Both girls are artists themselves, and are gifted, to say the least. They notice a man they call Gallery Guy copying one of the two Lucretias; nothing wrong with that, except this fellow is especially secretive. As the girls travel to Europe, they see this same Gallery Guy in London and Lucas is nearly run down by a speeding car. The girls unfortunately have to tell a pack of lies to Kari’s mother in order to get the freedom to investigate their suspicions. When they get word that a third Lucretia has been discovered in Amsterdam, they are almost certain this is a forgery, somehow related to Gallery Guy. They then tell Kari’s mother and get her help as they change their plans and go to Amsterdam to see this third Lucretia for themselves. Kari’s mother is kidnapped and the girls have to do all kinds of brave things before this story is finished. By the way, it looks like we will see more mysteries featuring Kari and Lucas. Lots of action, authentic emotions, friendship strains, mother-daughter conflicts…Runholt gets it all just right in this novel. Reviewer: Claire Rosser
March 2008 (Vol. 42, No.2)

VOYA
AGERANGE: Ages 11 to 15.

The Mystery of the Third Lucretia is a fun and educational mystery for adolescent readers. Although the plot is original and absorbing, the novel's greatest spark is in its female protagonists, Kari Sundgren (whose spry narration keeps the story amusing) and Lucas Stickney. The prose is sometimes childish-Kari seems to get side-tracked when conveying information-but generally rich, while remaining steady enough easily to follow. It is a refreshing and ultimately rewarding read. Reviewer: Emily Petit, Teen Reviewer
April 2008 (Vol. 31, No. 1)

VOYA - Cynthia L. Winfield
Kari Sundgren, ninth grade student and budding artist, lives happily with her involved and loving mother in a St. Paul, Minnesota, apartment above her Uncle Geoff's rooms, whereas her best friend, Lucas Stickney, resides in an expensive world of uninvolved parents. The friends lead uneventful lives, attending school and visiting the Minneapolis Institute of Art until Kari's mom, Gillian, takes a writing job with The Scene, a teen magazine that "covers European fashion trends" and requires international travel. When she allows the two to accompany her on some extended trips, Gillian provides background cultural and geographical information before the girls may explore alone. Kari and Lucas frequent art museums, enabling them to unwittingly stumble upon an art crime involving Rembrandt's work in progress. Kari's voice lends the authenticity of a young and inexperienced teen narrator to this first-person adventure wherein each piece fits seamlessly into the mystery's puzzle. Lucas's photographic memory serves the girls well as they track clues, and Kari's artistic ability allows them to produce evidence of their observations later in the story. Meticulously researched and wholly plot-driven, the book will engage history and travel buffs, art afficionados, and mystery lovers alike. Strong settings invite readers to visit neighborhoods and art museums in Minneapolis/St. Paul, London, Paris, and Amsterdam. Kari's genuine teen voice will engage reluctant readers and budding writers, but this adult reader found it irritating and somewhat obnoxious. Reviewer: Cynthia L. Winfield
School Library Journal

Gr 4-7- At the opening of this art mystery reminiscent of Blue Balliett's Chasing Vermeer (Scholastic, 2004), teen art enthusiasts Kari and Lucas encounter a foul-tempered man painting secretively at an exhibit of Rembrandt's famous Lucretia at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The strange episode proves significant when the best friends embark on a trip to London with Kari's mother and bump into the same unsociable painter in the Rembrandt room of the National Gallery. They realize the man is more than what he seems and make it their mission to discover what he is painting with such intense secrecy. Disguise and hilarity ensue, but before they know it, Kari and Lucas find themselves in real danger. The situation spirals when a new Lucretia painting surfaces unexpectedly, and the two sleuths must piece together the clues before the painter catches up with them-or before Kari's mom discovers that they have been spending their sightseeing time spying on a criminal. Kari narrates in a believable, contemporary voice, straightforward and humorous, reflecting the foibles and fears of an average 14-year-old. The story is carried by its continuous action and likable characters, not by the mystery, which remains a bit flat, without many twists. Nevertheless, the clarity of the plot, as well as the relative lack of violence, makes this a worthwhile choice for readers newly acquiring a taste for the mystery genre.-Emma Runyan, The Winsor School, Boston, MA

Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Mystery fans will enjoy this clever, engaging story of two girlfriends drawn into a dangerous puzzle involving international art fraud and murder. The adventure begins when ninth-graders Kari and Lucas visit the Minneapolis Art Institute to see an exhibit of Rembrandt's Lucretia paintings and notice a creepy man they christen "Gallery Guy" copying the paintings. The plot thickens when Kari and Lucas accompany Lucas's mom to London, where they spot the same man copying another Rembrandt Lucretia in the National Gallery. Kari convinces the skeptical Lucas that it's more than coincidence and they start to investigate, realizing his scheme when they read news of the discovery in Amsterdam of a "lost" Rembrandt painting-a third Lucretia. Runholt subtly interjects fascinating art-history facts throughout the story without sacrificing suspense. Kari and Lucas are appealing young sleuths; Kari's intuitive approach is a good complement to Lucas's photographic memory and analytical mind. Readers will no doubt look forward to reading more adventures of these teen detectives. (Fiction. 11-15)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670062522
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/17/2008
  • Series: A Kari and Lucas Mystery Series
  • Pages: 244
  • Age range: 12 - 13 Years
  • Lexile: 920L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Runholt is an art lover and world traveler. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 19 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2008

    Rollicking Ride

    This is a must read for adolescent girls and their moms! The plot is exciting and captivating and I also loved reading about the friendship between the two girls. As a mom of a teenage girl, I can attest to the accuracy of the book's dialogue between the girls and to the complexity of the relationships of the adults to the teenagers. Great descriptions of London and Amsterdam. Traveling to Europe with your kids just got cheaper--buy the book and read it on your porch. Then, pass it along to your daughter.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2008

    A great kickoff to a new girl power series!

    For kids looking for a new book series to love, this one has it all. Mystery of the Third Lucretia stars Kari and Lucas, two funny, smart 14-year-old girls. Kari and Lucas see a creepy guy up to no good, and decide to figure out what he's doing -- which leads to lots of trouble. There's lots of action, with cliffhangers at the end of every chapter, so it's hard to put down. There's also cool insight about art, museums and other countries especially about the story of Lucretia, the lady whose painting started the whole thing. And mostly, there are three characters that feel like friends from the first page: Kari, Lucas and Kari's very cool Mom. Kari is the narrator, and she had me laughing out loud on every page. You root for them, you like them, and by the end of the book, you can't wait to read about what they do next. Definitely read this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2013

    Sooooo gooood

    I really related to this book. This is a MUST READ book and I think many will get sucked into the life and adventure of Kari and Lucas.

    keep calm
    &
    love one direction

    Please reply fellow directioners AND non-directioners

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    Fantabulios book more people should read it!!!

    Dude, this book was amazing.... it was like, as soon as i started reading it I was sucked in and i couldn't stop reading this wondurful book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    Wow

    Ive only read "rescuing seneca crane" which wouldve probably stayed my fav anyway. Im more into all of the missing people type mysteries.

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  • Posted September 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Realistic but unbelievable!

    Have you ever been to an art museum and seen aspiring artists trying to copy their favorite paintings? That's exactly what best friends Kari and Lucas (she's a girl, yes) witness on their trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts except this guy is really good at it. He's suspicious too, shooing people away from his secluded spot in the corner where he paints. A year later when the girls visit an art museum in London, the same mysterious man is working on the same painting . but while wearing a disguise. What is he trying to hide? Though Kari and Lucas are both ready to start the adventure, they aren't completely sure of what to do. When things become life-threatening, neither of them know if it's worth the trouble.<br>

    <i>The Mystery of the Third Lucretia</i> was realistic while still being unbelievable. I felt my excitement rise with the characters' as everything was starting to come together. There were times when I could just picture the girls and them saying "Omigosh, omigosh" as the mystery began to unfold. Though I didn't realize it when reading, I learned a lot about art history and traveling. And it was amusing! In the beginning, the timeline was somewhat confusing so I can't place all the Before events in order in my mind. That's why I think this book would be great as a movie, so I can see all the scenes sorted out. The emotions the characters experience throughout the book is completely convincing and I applaud the author for her character-making skills. I look forward to the next books in this series!

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  • Posted September 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for TeensReadToo.com

    Kari's mother works for a magazine that sends her to Europe at least once a year to write stories. Usually, they manage to bring along Kari's best friend, Lucas. Together the girls sometimes play tourist while Kari's mother works. Occasionally, they help her with her articles.

    One trip to London proves to become a very different sort of trip than any of them imagined. While at the National Gallery, Kari and Lucas see an artist working near a Rembrandt painting of Lucretia. Before long, they become certain that they've seen this man before, only looking completely different.

    They saw him in the art museum near their home, also next to the other Rembrandt Lucretia. The man's covering up his easel so no one can see his work. He also has a distinctive growl when anyone gets too close.

    Kari and Lucas devise a plan to spy on the man, while changing their own appearances. In doing so, in order to understand what he's painting, they paint the objects they uncover by carefully sneaking glances at his work.

    During their next trip to Europe, they hear about a discovery of a never-before-seen third Rembrandt painting from the Lucretia series. Kari and Lucas begin to add up the clues and discover that this painting is not an original work, but who would believe them and what evidence do they have for proof?

    The first book in a series written in the first-person conveys the narrator's uncertainty about how to tell the story - there are many different possible beginnings, but Kari's voice rings true. While the reader can grasp the exact mystery from the beginning, they have fun solving the how and the why along with Kari and Lucas.

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  • Posted August 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Mystery of the Third Lucretia - art museums, child detectives and danger!

    "This is the story of how two teenagers from Minnesota lived a tale of adventure involving a woman from ancient Rome, a seventeenth-century painter, forgery and murder, abduction and rescue, disguises and deductions, two continents, three museums, four countries, a criminal hideaway, and two nuns from Amsterdam's famous Quarter."
    -The Mystery of the Third Lucretia by Susan Runholt

    I was intrigued by this book from the start. Books with museums, child detectives, art fraud and adventures have always come through for me, ever since I stumbled upon E.L. Konigsburg's The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

    I don't want to reveal too much about this book and think that the passage above tells you everything that you need to know. If it intrigues you, then I recommend that you get yourself a copy of The Mystery of the Third Lucretia. I'll limit myself to two sentences. The writing, characters, and adventure will not disappoint. I promise. That's it.

    If you're not drawn to the book, then it's likely not a fit. No worries - there will be plenty of other books for you and plenty of readers for these Kari + Lucas mysteries. I hadn't mentioned that The Mystery of the Third Lucretia is the first in a series, but it is! I love series books because I can get invested in the characters knowing that even if the book ends the adventures don't. The second of the series came out on August 20, 2009. The third is still in the works.

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  • Posted July 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Very enjoyable teen mystery!

    This book is about two 14 year old girls who are best friends, Kari Sundgren and Lucas Stickney. It starts off with the girls at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts Museum and they first notice a man with an easel painting a Rembrandt painting. Kari being the curious one leans in for a closer look and the man shouts go away. His actions frighten her and intrigue her at the same time. His nickname becomes Gallery Guy.
    Kari's mother is a reporter for The Scene and the girls get to accompany her to London and to Amsterdam. While they are in London, they spot the same man who was in the museum in the states and once again shouts go away. Lucas has a photographic memory and she is an excellent painter and by making multiple trips to spy on gallery guy in disguise, she is able to reproduce what he is painting. With the help of Kari's mother they find out the identity of the gallery guy and are able to form more pieces of the puzzle together.
    Once the trio arrives in Amsterdam, they discover in the newspaper, that a lost Rembrandt painting that has never been seen before shows up here. The girls start to wonder if something illegal is going on her. Once again with Kari's mother's extensive investigation expertise, they finally track the true identity of the Gallery Guy. His name is Jacob Hannekroot. The deeper they dig for proof of this being an illegal scheme and find out the Third Lucretia is a fake, the more they get into trouble. Kari's mother catches them red handed in an area of town that they are clearly not supposed to be in. The girls are grounded at the hotel and the mother has Tony, one of the hotel staff bringing the girls sandwiches and keeping an eye on them.
    Jacob finds out that the girls are on to him and kidnap Kari's mother and Lucas. In the end, Kari figures out where he is keeping them and enlists Tony for help. An article ran in the local Sunday paper praising the girls on their findings and showing that the Third Lucretia is a fake. The girls get their fifteen minutes of fame and return to the states. I thought this was a very cute book, even though the reading audience is geared for pre-teens ten to fourteen years old. It was a very quick read and reminded me of the Nancy Drew Mysteries I used to read when I was younger.

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  • Posted July 5, 2009

    Great Mystery

    What happens when 14 year old girlfriends, Kari and Lucas, show a little too much curiosity around a mysterious artist in a Minneapolis art museum? What happens is an international mystery and intrigue happening around them. Kari and Lucas are delightful characters who are fun, smart, talented and curious. Their adventures take them overseas when Kari's mother takes a job that allows them to travel with her.

    The dialog is spot-on for the age of the characters, and I could almost hear their voices while I was reading. Also, their friendship was true to life, including a few spats. I thought I would be able to say this is a great mystery book for young people, but I enjoyed it so much that I would have no problem recommending the book for parents to read too. I think it would allow some interesting dialog between parents and young teens.

    It would also make a good classroom book. The author has a website with more information on the characters and books. http://www.susanrunholt.com/ Thankfully, this book is a part of a series and I look forward to reading more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2009

    Fun Adventure!

    Susan Runholt's book is a young adult mystery starring fourteen year old Kari and her best friend Lucas. The girls stumble across an art mystery when they encounter the same man in a gallery in the Minneapolis Institute of Art and The National Gallery in Britain. He appears to be copying famous Rembrandt paintings and the girls are intrigued to find out why. They start to spy on him and come up with clever ways of staying covert. After a third painting of Rembrandt's Lucretia is "found" and donated to the Rijksmuseum, Kari's mother realizes the girls really were on to something and attempts to help catch the forger. Danger, kidnapping and more ensue.

    The book is written in first person from Kari's point of view so we are treated to the inner workings a fourteen-year-old's head. While many children's and young adult books do not have the parents present, Runholt has very cleverly involved Kari's mother to a point, but also provides good excuses for the mother to be busy in order for the girls to explore on their own. I think both mother and daughter are portrayed well here. From a younger person's point of view, the mom seems rather cool and from a mother's perspective the mom does react somewhat realistically to the situation at hand.

    Overall, this was a very fun adventure. I loved the art history references. I love the focus of the Lucretia story. Runholt has found a fantastic topic to write about for young women. Her message in the book is empowering and wonderful from the lessons both Kari and Lucas learn, to the portrayal of Lucas' powerful grandmother ,and the evolution of Lucas' mother from dizty socialite to devoted philanthropist. I so look forward to my daughters reading this book in the future. And I think this book would be a perfect addition to a mother/daughter book club list. It would be great to hear the reaction of both mothers and daughters to this book and their discussion of the mother/daughter relationships. This is a very PG-rated book. Where there might be swearing the girls use the word "Meep". Even though its rated as young adult, other than the dangerous situations the girls get into, this book would be fine for younger than that. I'd say 10 and up (or anyone interested in Nancy Drew) would enjoy this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2008

    Great Book!!!

    I loved this book!! I was soo attached to it it only took me a few days to read!! My mom made me go to bed but I never wanted to!! I cannot wait to read another book in this series!! I really want to see a Lucreta! Actualy I want to see all of them! Now i am defintly going to Minniapolis, London, Washington D.C, Amsterdam and hopefully get trapped in a mystery just like Lucas and Kari!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2008

    Just another great review

    I loved this book. Susan did a really awesome job. I cant wait until her next book. I really like Kari and Lukas, but i think that Lukas`s father is really mean.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2008

    A great story -- and not just for girls!

    Let me admit something right up front: I¿m a boy. I¿m not embarrassed to say that I read this book and loved it! The girls felt like my friends and I cared about them a lot! This was a great story of adventure and I learned things about art I never knew before. Now I want to go to London and Amsterdam! And I already can¿t wait to read the next book in this series!!!

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    Posted May 31, 2011

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    Posted July 26, 2009

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    Posted January 5, 2009

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    Posted October 14, 2008

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    Posted November 11, 2009

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