Poison Most Vial: A Mystery

Poison Most Vial: A Mystery

4.2 4
by Benedict Carey
     
 

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Murder in the lab! The famous forensic scientist Dr. Ramachandran is stone-cold dead, and Ruby Rose’s father is the prime suspect. It’s one more reason for Ruby to hate the Gardens, the funky urban neighborhood to which she has been transplanted. Wise but shy, artistic but an outsider, Ruby must marshal everything and everyone she can to help solve the…  See more details below

Overview


Murder in the lab! The famous forensic scientist Dr. Ramachandran is stone-cold dead, and Ruby Rose’s father is the prime suspect. It’s one more reason for Ruby to hate the Gardens, the funky urban neighborhood to which she has been transplanted. Wise but shy, artistic but an outsider, Ruby must marshal everything and everyone she can to help solve the mystery and prove her father didn’t poison his boss. Everyone? The list isn’t too long: there’s T. Rex, Ruby’s big, goofy but goodhearted friend; maybe those other two weird kids from class; and that mysterious old lady in the apartment upstairs, who seems to know a lot about chemistry . . . which could come in very handy.
Praise for Poison Most Vial
“Carey mixes toxic chemistry and logic problems in his second middle-grade mystery to good, if not great effect. Budding chemists and crime-scene investigators will especially enjoy this science whodunit.”
Kirkus Reviews

Awards
VOYA Top Shelf for Middle School Readers 2012 list

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Janis Flint-Ferguson
Ruby Rose's father works at a local university where he cleans the laboratories. When he is accused of murder, Ruby and her best friend Rex set out to discover what really happened. They enlist the help of a woman who lives in their apartment complex and who they know only as the woman who peers out at them from her window. Ruby has heard that the "window lady" used to be a crime fighter and that is good enough for her. Mrs. Whitmore has indeed worked as a crime investigator and knows just how to direct the children in their quest. She also has friends in the investigative labs and does some of her own research into the murder of Dr. V.S. Ramachandran, who ran the research lab at the university. Young middle school readers will be introduced to the detective genre with this mystery and the adventures of two friends as they investigate the graduate students, the vials of toxins in the lab and finally the bit of science that helps them solve the case. There is an interesting multicultural component as Rex's voice reflects the Caribbean origins of his family. Following in the tradition of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, these are contemporary urban detectives working together to clear Mr. Rose's name. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
VOYA - L. Perenic
The punny title led to an expectation of amusing word play that was not met, yet A Poison Most Vial was a quirky and solid mystery. Ruby Rose is determined to prove the innocence of her father, a janitor at DeWitt Polytechnic University, accused of poisoning the tea of Dr. Ramachandran. A cast of unusual characters brings their talents to the case, including the reclusive and retired forensic scientist, Mrs. Whitmore, who is Ruby's neighbor. While all the characters have unique qualities like special shoe laces and nicknames, very few of them are given any physical descriptions. The Young Detectives, as the group dubs themselves, often resort to subterfuge and it was impressive how little actual law-breaking they did. This fact made the plot more believable, since what reader would not have access to the library and computers, the same tools used by Ruby and Rex? This is a strong book for middle schoolers. Some junior high readers may find the protagonists, Ruby and Rex, too juvenile. The sleuth-to-suspects ratio allows author Benedict to keep the reading guessing until the very end. Reviewer: L. Perenic
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—When forensics expert Dr. Ramachandran is found poisoned in the lab at DeWitt Polytechnic University, eighth-grader Ruby Rose's dad is the prime suspect. He is a janitor in the lab, and empty toxin vials have been found in his locker. Ruby goes to the DeWitt Lab School, which many of the university professors' children ("the little gods") attend. Already somewhat of an outcast, Ruby (now dubbed "The Poison Rose") feels alone in her quest to prove that her father has been framed. With the help of her friend Rex, she hesitantly contacts reclusive, retired forensic toxicologist Clara Whitmore, the "Window Lady," who watches people from her apartment in Ruby's building. Carey has created a mystery with forensic evidence, multiple possible suspects, and two persistent sleuths. Can Ruby and Rex trust elderly Clara, or does she have her own agenda? Can they find the clues they need and get anyone to believe them before Ruby's dad goes to prison? This rather complicated story requires close attention to the clues or readers may get confused. However, die-hard sleuths looking for a challenging mystery might enjoy deciphering the evidence and cracking computer passwords alongside Ruby and Rex.—Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA
Kirkus Reviews
When Ruby's janitor father becomes the prime suspect in a murder, the eighth grader decides it's up to her to clear his name. Forensics expert Dr. Ramachandran was not the most congenial of professors, but everyone is still surprised when he turns up dead in his lab at DeWitt Polytechnic University. Ruby Rose, who attends the DeWitt Lab School on the campus, finds that in the court of public opinion her father has already been convicted--especially after empty toxin vials are found in his locker. Ruby enlists the aid of her large, Jamaican buddy, Rex, and reclusive, retired toxicologist Clara Whitmore, who lives in Ruby's building. What with hacking into computers, evading gangs and like spy-jinx, the mystery demands a lot of brain work. However, with a little coaching Ruby is up to the task. Carey mixes toxic chemistry and logic problems in his second middle-grade mystery to good, if not great effect (The Unknowns, 2009). The slow unfolding of the mystery borders on lethargic, but the realistic heroine, her odd (but not quirky) supporting cast and the distinctive nature of the mystery save this at-times-intoxicating brew. Budding chemists and crime-scene investigators will especially enjoy this science whodunit. (Mystery. 10-14)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781419700316
Publisher:
Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
04/01/2012
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
775,635
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
HL610L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 13 Years

Meet the Author

Benedict Carey is a science reporter for the New York Times who covers such topics as neuroscience, genetics, and personality. He previously worked for the Los Angeles Times. He lives in the New York City area.

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