Secrets of Code Z

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Editorial Reviews

Young Orville Jacques is an amateur sleuth in this fifth installment of the Belltown Mystery series. Orville takes his girlfriend to a local carnival and winds up conversing with a fortuneteller who tells him "death surrounds you." A few days later the fortuneteller is dead. The ominous warning and her subsequent death upset the two, and so begins another Belltown mystery. Throw in the CIA, a Russian scientist who has something to do with the death powder from Chernobyl, and a skeleton, and you are off on a fast-paced and amusing sleuthing adventure. (A Belltown Mystery, #5) KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2001, J.N. Townsend Publishing (12 Greenleaf Dr., Exeter, NH 03833), 134p., $9.95. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Sherri Forgash Ginsberg; Chapel Hill, NC , November 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 6)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Orville's date with Vanessa to the Winter Carnival seems destined to be his best evening ever. Then a mysterious fortune-teller runs off upon seeing him, and a fight breaks out between some bullies and a homeless man. Later he discovers a body off the breakers of his Cape Cod town and finds himself solving another Belltown mystery. The 16-year-old learns that the CIA is having him followed, and even his bedroom is bugged. Orville and his friend Gina end up getting involved in more murders that lead them to a scientist from the Chernobyl nuclear-power plant disaster. He has the code to get back into the plant to destroy a Death Powder, Code Z, and both the U.S. and Russia are after it. An evil Russian spy kills anyone who gets in his way. With a lot of perseverance, a few friends, and a little luck, Orville manages to help the scientist escape. He tricks the CIA, proves the fortune-teller's predictions correct, and avoids certain death. This book will have trouble finding an audience. Teens will not be challenged by this easy read and will have to accept the Spy Kids mentality prevalent here. Elementary students will be put off by the main character's recurring interest in kissing his date. Only fans of the first four Belltown mysteries will be eager for this installment.-Debbie Whitbeck, West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI NIXON, Joan Lowery. Playing for Keeps. 200p. Delacorte. Aug. 2001. Tr $15.95. ISBN 0-385-32759-5. Gr 6-9-Sixteen-year-old Enrique is smuggled out of Cuba on a small boat operated by a wily helmsman. He's left to hide on a deserted Haitian beach until his next contact is made. A talented ballplayer, he dreams of freedom and a baseball career in America. His next step in this quest is as a stowaway on a luxurious Caribbean cruise ship heading toward Florida. Ricky's uncle, a professional baseball player in the United States, is the financial powerhouse orchestrating his nephew's escape. When the man who smuggled the teen out of Cuba turns up dead, Ricky, discovered on the cruise, becomes the prime suspect. Rose, a 16-year-old vacationer, is immediately drawn to the mysterious Ricky, and she and her two friends join ranks to absolve him from the crime that someone is obviously trying to pin on him. The story is a blend of romance, intrigue, and a whodunit plot with some political advocacy thrown in. While Rose and Ricky fall for one another, grabbing a few stargazing moments on deck, their relationship pivots around her piecing together the facts to prove him innocent. This is not a challenging mystery. However, readers will enjoy the romance and be entertained by a light plot that veers toward moments of suspense. On the sidelines, Nixon does a fine job of developing family relationships and responsibilities. Rosie's attention to her grandmother and her admiration for both her mother and grandmother (who don't see eye to eye) is refreshing. A natural and subtle display of family affections is woven throughout this novel.-Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781880158333
  • Publisher: Publishing Works, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/28/2001
  • Series: Belltown Mystery Series
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.03 (w) x 7.76 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2003

    There is nothing like a T.M. Murphy Book

    Seriously, his books are the best kept secret in the world. I always wonder why they are not a movie or TV show by now because they are so visual - they are better than a TV show or movie!! Code Z is filled with suspense and twists and a villian who scared me so much -- I loved it! Anyone who wouldn't like this book doesn't know kids because I am 14 and I hated to read until my grandmother gave me these books for Christmas! I just don't know why the books aren't in every book store.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2001


    No mystery here, Code Z is awesome. The Belltown Mystery Series will be on every kids wish list this year.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2001

    The Author Speaks

    I really hope you will include the reviews I have received from Booklist (May 16, 2001) Cape Cod Parent and Child,and Foreword Magazine. They were great reviews and they got it! It saddens me that this reviewer doesn't seem to know young people at all. I have received letters and emails on my website from young people from all over the country thanking me for writing books that speak their language = ex. being nervous around a girl they like and wanting to kiss her but hi-fiving her instead. Orville is a sensitive kid who helps Hilda (the fortune teller) express her feelings. A wonderful lesson for young people; one that wasn't even mentioned by this reviewer. That makes me wonder if the reviewer had already reviewed my book before she even read it. This review would be laughable if it didn't keep the book out of young people's hands. And it might! That is what made me write to I just hope parents will not take this review seriously. I have met hundreds of librarians, teachers, and parents (some wonderful people who want to get kids to read), who thank me for writing books that get kids reading. I remember them when I read this review. Who reviews the reviewers? In this case, it is the young people and they are giving this reviewer one star. Judge for yourself. I write for the kids and I will continue to write for them. Thank you and kids keep reading and writing and following your dreams! And don't listen to negative people or odds! Listen to the odds in your heart and the doors will open to your dreams!! Ted M. Murphy - The Belltown Mystery Series

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2001

    t. m. murphy gets better and better!

    extremely intriguing! Orville gets in a mess once again. A skeleton, the CIA , and a gyspy are all part of the mystery, but I wont tell you anymore. You just have to read it to find out yourself!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2001

    Orville is the new Harry Potter!

    I love Orville! Murphy's books are fun and intriguing and just right for my kids, who are looking for Harry Potter replacements. 'Secrets of Code Z' is a great addition to our bookshe

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