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The Mystery of the Third Lucretia

The Mystery of the Third Lucretia

4.7 19
by Susan Runholt

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

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)

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)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
A Kari and Lucas Mystery
Sold by:
Penguin Group
File size:
433 KB
Age Range:
10 Years

Meet the Author

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

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