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Posted February 3, 2014
Posted May 8, 2013
Posted May 17, 2012
Cute Middle Grade Mystery!
Poison Most Vial is a classic young sleuths mystery that brings out the nerdy detective in the best of us. Ruby and Rex are determined to find who really killed Dr. Ramachandran and clear her father's name. But these two are lacking in experience so how in the world are they going to solve a mystery that's too confounding for even the police? And what are they going to do to disprove the clear evidence against her father? Rex and Ruby will find that things are not always as they seem and help can come from unexpected places.
Rex and Ruby are pretty average elementary students--they're even placed with "The Regulars" at the DeWitt Lab School. They live in the projects and walk home from school together. Their slightly odd friendship fits both of their personalities and they're probably the last pair you would expect to solve a murder case! I liked their back-and-forth banter and how their slightly odd personalities seemed to complement each other. I don't think that anyone could NOT like Ruby. She has quirky little OCD habits like counting her steps (three plus one) and she's sharp. Both of them appeal to the nerdy kid in all of us.
The story itself, while not the most fast-paced murder mystery, is steeped in authentic situations where our young sleuths narrowly escape danger (although luckily for them, the danger is never TOO dangerous). The help that they receive from the elusive Mrs. Whitmore (aka The Window Lady) helps them more than they ever expected it to and she gives us all little science lessons along the way.
While I won't say this is my personal favorite read of the year, I think that it will hold a lot of appeal for the young audience at which it is aimed. If you've got a late elementary reader looking for a mystery with a little nerdy science thrown in (even if they don't ask for that second part--sometimes you just know), then Poison Most Vial is a great go-to book.
Posted March 13, 2012
Ruby Rose's father works in the great DeWitt forensics lab as a janitor. He's been accused of killing the great forensic scientist, Dr. Ramachandran in the lab. But Ruby knows he didn't do it, he had no reason to do it. She just has to prove it. And to prove it, she needs the help of her friend Rex. And Rex suggests the old lady in the window. She's rumored to have been famous for working with chemicals or something. But he's scared of her, he's heard from "The Minister of Information" or Jimmy Woods, that she has a glass eye and he's scared if she sneezes it'll come out. There's a very comical scene when they are visiting the woman, Mrs. Whitmore, and she sneezes. Rex, still fearing the glass eye turns the coffee table over and runs to the other side of the window while Ruby yells at him and Mrs. Whitmore just looks on in shock.
Between trying to save her father and finding clues to his innocence, Ruby reminisces about her life in Arkansas and the best friend she left behind. She's missing the country and the wide open spaces. The city is crowded and unfamiliar and dangerous. And her best friend hasn't emailed her. She misses her old life, her old friend, the old way of doing things. But, Ruby doesn't dwell on it. If anything, I don't think she dwells on her situation enough. Her father could go to jail, he's drinking too much, they have no income since he lost his job and she's far from what she considers home. She feels that everywhere is strange and that she doesn't belong. And she's right when it comes to her investigating the crime. But she's smart, too, and in investigating the crime, she begins to learn more about herself, her surroundings and the people that are in her daily life.
There are some very clever ways that Mrs. Whitmore helps Ruby and Rex and by extension her friends figure out what they need to free her father. And in return Mrs. Whitmore gains a sense of something more. And Ruby and Rex make two new friends that are living on the other side of the world from the projects where they live. It's a great mystery and fun reading about Ruby and Rex and Mrs. Whitmore.
This is a very clean read and great for Middle Grade and up. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I received a review a review copy of this from the publisher Amulet through Net Galley free of charge. This did not affect my review in any way.