Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Moustache Mary

Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Moustache Mary

5.0 22
by Wendelin Van Draanen

View All Available Formats & Editions

"The most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)" —Midwest Children's Book Review

When Sammy and her friends meet Lucinda Huntley walking her 200-pound pig down the middle of the road, their quiet weekend in the country quickly becomes an adventure. Lucinda tells them a true tale of the Wild West


"The most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)" —Midwest Children's Book Review

When Sammy and her friends meet Lucinda Huntley walking her 200-pound pig down the middle of the road, their quiet weekend in the country quickly becomes an adventure. Lucinda tells them a true tale of the Wild West, her great-grandma Moustache Mary, and a century-old family feud.

But this feud is hardly ancient history. Past and present collide—and combust!—when Mary's pioneer cabin burns to the ground. Sammy thinks the cause of the fire may be a hundred years old, but still, the gas can she finds near the scene of the crime is shiny and new. . . .

The Sammy Keyes mysteries are fast-paced, funny, thoroughly modern, and true whodunits. Each mystery is exciting and dramatic, but it's the drama in Sammy's personal life that keeps readers coming back to see what happens next with her love interest Casey, her soap-star mother, and her mysterious father.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Sammy and her friends are surprised to discover that the flowers they are helping to deliver are for a funeral and not for a party. Their surprise turns to shock when elderly Lucinda Huntley opens the casket and speaks to the corpse. Prior to his death Mr. Murdock had sent a letter to Lucinda to apologize for his part in continuing the family feud. But when Lucinda's great-grandmother's pioneer home is burned, she is convinced the Murdocks are the culprits. As Sammy begins to delve into this mystery, she discovers there is more than meets the eye as seemingly disparate items--a stolen skateboard, a pet pig, a family feud and a buried treasure--provide clues. Van Draanen skillfully ties together all the loose ends. Readers will discover a cast of interesting characters, a bit of pioneer history, a little romance, and just enough red herrings to send amateur sleuths in the wrong direction. Fans of Sammy Keyes will enjoy matching wits with her in her latest case. 2000, Alfred A. Knopf, Ages 10 to 14, $16.99 and $14.95. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo—Children's Literature
This fifth book in the lively Sammy Keyes mystery series has the bright, curious seventh-grader involved in a family feud that dates back 100 years. Visiting a friend in the country, Sammy and her friends meet an elderly woman named Lucinda walking her pet pig down the road and befriend her. They learn that Lucinda's family has been at war with their neighbors, the Murdocks, ever since wagon train days, when Lucinda's ancestor Mary posed as a man (hence the nickname "Moustache Mary") in order to join an emigration party and head out west. The Murdocks objected to the deception, blaming her for the party's bad luck; Mary shot a thieving Murdock; and relationships have deteriorated since. So when Mary's old cabin, treasured by Lucinda, is burned to the ground, the Murdocks are obvious suspects. That is, until Sammy gets involved, and bravely uncovers a drug lab and the real culprit—as well as finding Mary's lost treasure. She also finds time to meet a boy and attend a party at which older kids are smoking, drinking, and doing drugs (and, anachronistically, playing Pac Man). The sense of danger and discomfort she feels at these goings-on is palpable; she refers to it as the Edge of the World. This action-filled adventure, with its plucky heroine, will appeal to Sammy Keyes fans and others who enjoy mysteries. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2000, Random House/Knopf, 256p, $14.95. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; May 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 3)
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-In this reading of the book by Wendelin Van Draanen (Knopf, 2000), seventh-grader Sammy Keyes is invited to spend New Year's weekend at her friend Dot's house in the country. This leads to a meeting with elderly Lucinda Huntley and her 200 pound pet pig, Penny, and to a mystery that dates back to a Hatfield-McCoy type feud which involved Lucinda's great grandmother, "Moustache Mary." This feud led to a mysterious entry in Mary's diary about a buried treasure of gold. Sammy finds herself in situations which involve teenage alcohol and drug use as well as romance. The plot here is not as fully developed as those in previous Sammy Keyes mysteries. The somewhat forced focus on current teen issues weakens some of the humor and spunkiness the audience has come to expect from Sammy. Sammy faces some decisions about whom to trust. Her attitudes and development as a teen are the focus in this novel. Narrator Tara Sands does an excellent job voicing Sammy's first-person narrative.-Diane Balodis, Alden Intermediate School, NY Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
Praise for Sammy Keyes:
"A treat for mystery lovers." — Los Angeles Times Book Review

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sammy Keyes Series
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Books have always been a part of Wendelin Van Draanen’s life. Her mother taught her to read at an early age, and she has fond memories of story time with her father, when she and her brothers would cuddle up around him and listen to him read stories.

Growing up, Van Draanen was a tomboy who loved to be outside chasing down adventure. She did not decide that she wanted to be an author until she was an adult. When she tried her hand at writing a screenplay about a family tragedy, she found the process quite cathartic and from that experience, turned to writing novels for adults. She soon stumbled upon the joys of writing for children.

Feedback from her readers is Van Draanen’s greatest reward for writing. “One girl came up to me and told me I changed her life. It doesn’t get any better than that,” she said. Van Draanen hopes to leave her readers with a sense that they have the ability to steer their own destiny—that individuality is a strength, and that where there’s a will, there’s most certainly a way.

Wendelin Van Draanen is the winner of the 1999 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Children’s Mystery Book for Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief and lives with her husband and two sons in California.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Moustache Mary 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sammy adds humor, romance, and an adventure I read and read! With her friends and her good detective skills, there's no stopping Sammy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is boring at first, but after a while, its got so interesting that i could'nt put it down five stars no doubt
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sammy keyes runs into a ton of mysteries She is sooooo amazing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If there was one person I can be it would absolutely be sammy keyes! I love this series this author and i adore sammy. You will not regret reading this series ever. And sammy is defenitely not boring! Shes actually more like the exact opposite. Read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
socraticparenting More than 1 year ago
The first book in this series (Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief) was on my daughter’s summer reading list between 4th and 5th grade. I read it with my daughter, and we were hooked. We read this book together as a family. Inquisitive and resourceful, Samantha (Sammy) Keyes makes a great tween protagonist. Be forewarned that there are some alcohol and drug references (marijuana, cocaine and meth) in this book which provided us with the opportunity to talk about these issues very frankly with our 10-year-old daughter. I recommend reading this series in order because the characters and relationships develop from one book to the next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is hilarious
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
awesomebookDR More than 1 year ago
this book was a great mystery!!!!!!! it was exciting and fun. i would totally read it 100 times again.cant wait to read my next sammy keyes book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
oh my gosh i loved this book!!!!!!! it wa sone of the best books that i have ever read!!!some say that her books are confusing but i thought that it was just right!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just got finished reading this book! I couldn't stop reading it, it was so good! When Sammy goes to her friends house to spend the weekend Sammy just can't help herself to solve this mystery. Then on New Year's Eve somebody burned down an old cabin that belonged to Mary Rose Huntley. And when Sammy goes to a New Years party to get her stolen skateboard and then later finds out that a guy named Casey that starts to like Sammy is Heather Acosta's brother. You have to read this story it is the best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
THIS BOOK AND #4 ARE THE BEST!!!!!! i love this one, i love the story and the pig!!!! best of all i like... wahts his name, casy, right? oh that was SO surprising, findingout he was heathers brother!!! i cant wait to find out what happens w/them!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing! It was very suspesful with lots of action. I could feel the hair standing up on my arms as I red it, so i would definetly reccomend it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This has got to be one of the best mystery books I have ever read! Sammy is funny, sarcastic and pretty smart. This book had a great plot that was interesting as well as not too confusing. I LOVE Sammy Keyes, you go girl!