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The Vanishing Violin (The Red Blazer Girls Series #2)

The Vanishing Violin (The Red Blazer Girls Series #2)

4.7 19
by Michael D. Beil

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The perfect series for kids who loved THE LEMONADE WAR series and are ready for more mysteries!

"With wit, cunning, snappy dialogue and superior math skills, The Red Blazer Girls represent the best of girl-detectives while still feeling relatable and real. Nancy Drew would be right at home with this group." -- Huffington Post's


The perfect series for kids who loved THE LEMONADE WAR series and are ready for more mysteries!

"With wit, cunning, snappy dialogue and superior math skills, The Red Blazer Girls represent the best of girl-detectives while still feeling relatable and real. Nancy Drew would be right at home with this group." -- Huffington Post's 15 Greatest Kid Detectives List

When there are mysteries to be solved, the Red Blazer Girls are on the case! The discovery of the Ring of Rocamadour has secured the girls' reputation as Upper East Side super-sleuths, bringing many sundry job requests (no mystery too small, right?) and some unwanted attention from crooks. This time the girls must follow a trail of cryptic clues, involving everything from logic to literature, to trace a rare violin gone missing. But nothing is as it appears, and just as a solution seems imminent, the girls find themselves scrambling to save the man who was once their prime suspect.

Bowstrings and betrayal, crushes and codes abound in this suspenseful companion to the Red Blazer Girls' 2009 debut. Michael Beil, a New York City high school English teacher and life-long mystery fan, delivers a middle-grade caper that's perfect for middle-grade readers who have finished THE LEMONADE WAR series and are ready for more advanced mysteries!

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
After successfully solving the mystery of the missing Ring of Rocamadour, the Red Blazer Girls are famous detectives, at least in and around St. Veronica's School on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Sophie, Margaret, Leigh Ann, and Rebecca are asked by Sister Bernadette to discover who is rearranging furniture and redecorating the school at night. However, before they can solve this mystery, another appears. Margaret receives a strange message about a violin that was stolen from Carnegie Hall over fifty years ago. The girls are eager to take on their second real mystery searching for newspaper accounts in the public library. Then they begin to receive cryptic notes promising clues to the violin's location. Solving the coded messages is challenging and fun for the young detectives, as well as for the reader. Along with solving mysteries, the girls must also contend with the usual problems of seventh grade, including crushes and backstabbing friends. The surprising and satisfying resolution will delight readers. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
Kirkus Reviews
No sooner have St. Veronica's seventh-grade sleuths Sophie, Margaret, Rebecca and Leigh Ann solved the perplexing case of The Ring of Rocamadour (2009) than Sister Bernadette challenges them to find a mysterious intruder who's cleaning and redecorating the school. Simultaneously, Margaret receives a strange letter inviting her to figure out a series of cryptic clues leading to a missing violin stolen in 1959. Meanwhile, a rare violin vanishes from their friend Mr. Chernofsky's shop, triggering another mystery. The four feisty detectives use teamwork, brains and aplomb to crack all three mysteries in their Upper East Side neighborhood while juggling homework, starting up a band called The Blazers and outwitting a snarky classmate. Sophie's chatty first-person, present-tense banter sets a lighthearted tone for their serious code breaking and problem solving, while readers are encouraged to help unravel the puzzles and sample the brainteasers. As they dart from clue to clue, the red blazer gals feel and act like real tweens while tackling everything that comes their way with logic, humor and refreshing savoir faire. (appendix with solution for final logic problem) (Mystery. 8-12)
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—The Red Blazers Girls are back with another multilayered mystery to solve. This time they are on the trail of a missing rare violin. Margaret, a violinist, has a lot riding on this case. If she finds the instrument, it is hers to keep. Once again, the young sleuths must break and trace some cryptic codes and brainteasers that involve logic, math, and literature to find the violin. In the process, Sophie, Margaret, Becca, and Leigh Ann end up trying to save the man who was their prime suspect. The girls also form a band (The Blazers), get a gig, find out who is mysteriously cleaning up St. Veronica's school, and outwit a mean classmate.The Ring of the Rocamadour (Knopf, 2009) is a must-read to get what is going on in this book, but fans of the earlier title will love it. Plenty of adventure is packed into one neatly solved mystery. The dialogue is fast paced and somewhat humorous. The clues are a bit harder than those in the first book, a bonus for readers who like a challenge. Suggest both books to kids who are looking for something funny and intriguing.—Shannon Seglin, Patrick Henry Library, Vienna, VA

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Red Blazer Girls Series , #2
Product dimensions:
8.78(w) x 11.04(h) x 1.12(d)
730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

In which the true nature of detective work is revealed to be full of cobwebs,  beady-eyed critters, and something sticky    

Like a plaid-skirted Jedi Knight, I wave my trusty lightsaber--okay, really it's just a flashlight--back and forth in front of my face, carving a swath through a tangle of spiderwebs. Convinced that my eight-legged enemies have been cleared from my immediate path, I aim the beam at the jumbled piles of broken desks and God only knows what else lurking in the far corners of the school basement.  

"There's definitely something dead down here," I announce.  

"It's not the dead things I'm worried about," Leigh Ann says. "There might be rats."  

Rebecca laughs deviously. "Might be? Um, Leigh Ann, this is New York. Just keep your feet moving and they won't bother you."  

In spite of Rebecca's sensible advice, Leigh Ann freezes. "Are you serious?"  

"Rebecca. Sophie. Stop scaring her. There are no rats, and nothing is dead," Margaret says.  

I shine my light at a shelf just above my head and detect two beady eyes sizing me up. He's so close I can see his whiskers moving. "Nah. There wouldn't be rats down here. This is our neat-and-tidy school, after all." I brush aside a few more spiderwebs and charge ahead.  

Margaret pats me on the shoulder. She has spotted my furry friend, too. "All right, let's concentrate. We have a job to do."  

Ah yes, the job.  

After our triumphant recovery of the Ring of Rocamadour, we became minor celebrities at St. Veronica's School. Malcolm Chance, the ex-husband of our first client, and someone all my instincts were absolutely, 100 percent wrong about, told the neighborhood newspaper, the East Sider, all about us. They sent a reporter to the school for an interview, and we ended up splashed across the front page, with a picture and this story:    

"Red Blazer Girls" Solve Local Mystery  

It seems that Sherlock Holmes, Nero Wolfe, and Hercule Poirot have some competition right here on the Upper East Side.  

Four St. Veronica's School students solved a 20-year-old mystery when they discovered one of the famed Rings of Rocamadour in its hiding place beneath the floor of St. Veronica's Church on Lexington Avenue. The students--Rebecca Chen, Margaret Wrobel,and Sophie St. Pierre, all of Manhattan, and Leigh Ann Jaimes of Queens--followed clues, cracked a devilishly clever mathematical code, and outwitted a pair of fiends who appear to have taken lessons from Boris and Natasha of Bullwinkle fame.  

The ring, hidden by the late, noted archaeologist Everett Harriman as part of a birthday puzzle for his daughter, dates back to the first century and is alleged to have certain mystical powers--including the power to make dreams come true--according to the girls, who refer to themselves as the Red Blazer Girls in honor of their St. Veronica's School uniforms.  

"These girls have done the city, and the whole world, a huge service," says Malcolm Chance, professor of archaeology at Columbia University, and the son-in-law of Everett Harriman. "The ring is priceless--and it almost certainly would have been lost forever without their intelligence and persistence." Professor Chance reports that the ring has been donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and reunited with the other of the pair, believed to be wedding rings given to a young couple in France by St. Veronica herself. According to Catholic tradition, St. Veronica was the woman who wiped the face of Jesus as he carried the cross to the site of his crucifixion.  

"It was an awesome experience," Miss St. Pierre says. "We were happy to help out Ms. Harriman and her family, and then finding the ring, holding it in our hands--it's like we're part of its amazing history now. Which is pretty cool."  

The drama began in September, when Ms. Elizabeth Harriman, Everett's daughter, found a letter he had written the day before his death, nearly 20 years ago. The letter contained the first of many clues, and after a chance meeting between Harriman and the girls, the hunt for the ring was on.  

What does the future hold for these crime-fighting tweens?  

Miss Wrobel, acknowledged by the other girls as the "true brains" of the outfit, reports that for now she is concentrating on school and the violin.  

Her eyes light up, however, when Miss St. Pierre suggests that there are always new mysteries to be solved.  

So, Upper East Side miscreants and ne'er-do-wells, take heed, the Red Blazer Girls are in your neighborhood, and on the case.    

So we are famous. Sort of.  

The day after the article appeared, Margaret showed up at school with a box of business cards personalized for each of us.  

And just like that, we were in business. Two days ago, Sister Bernadette, the principal at St. Veronica's, dragged Margaret and me into her office, a place that was becoming all too familiar to us.  

"Miss Wrobel and Miss St. Pierre. Sit."  

You have to love Sister Bernadette's just-the-facts-ma'am style.  

"Hey, you rearranged the furniture," I said. "This is much better--and now you can see out the window."  


I guess she didn't want to talk about it.  

She continued: "Let me preface my remarks by saying that I have not forgotten about the week's detention you owe me. Just because you and your friends have become the darlings of the local media does not mean that all your past offenses have been pardoned. Quite the contrary. As I learn more and more about this recent adventure of yours, I am more and more convinced that I was far too easy on you. Sneaking into the church at all hours, digging up the altar's floor. Good Lo--er, my goodness."  

"But, Sister--" Margaret started.  

Sister Bernadette held up her hand. "Stop. I'm not going to add to your punishment. I want to do business with your, er, agency." She held up one of Margaret's cards.   Margaret and I looked at one another, eyebrows at attention.   "I have a little case for you, if you're interested. Of course, there will be no fee, but if you do this for me, I will remove your names from next week's detention list."  

"That seems totally fair," I blurted out.  

"Sophie, wait. We haven't heard what's involved yet," replied my more pragmatic friend.  

"Indeed. I like you, Miss Wrobel," said Sister Bernadette, resting her chin on her interlocked fingers, but without even a hint of a smile. "I'm starting to understand how you managed to do whatever it was you did over there in the church. This situation is nothing like that. It's a matter of a few . . . unexplained events. I merely want you to seek--no, I demand--an explanation."  

"Ooohh. What kind of unexplained events?" I asked, sliding forward on my chair. My brain ran riot: sinister spies, ghastly ghosts, evil extraterrestrials.  

"Calm down, Agent St. Pierre. These are the kind of events that can be explained--they simply have not been. Put simply, someone has been cleaning and straightening up around the school--after hours. Things that the janitor is not responsible for. Take the refrigerator in the teachers' lounge. Please understand that this is not just a refrigerator, but more a biology experiment gone horribly wrong. In my twenty years here at St. Veronica's, no one has ever cleaned it voluntarily, and if a teacher did, he or she would rightfully expect a medal, and perhaps a hazmat suit. And every night, someone is loading paper into every single tray of every copy machine, getting it ready for the next day. They're stacking the reams of paper neatly in the supply closet, instead of merely leaving them scattered around the room, as is the usual practice. The other day, Sister Eugenia jammed the machine in the faculty room so badly that we had to call a repairman, but when he showed up the next morning, somehow it had been fixed.  

Last night was my turn. As Miss St. Pierre so astutely pointed out, all the furniture in my office was rearranged. Nothing missing, not a paper on my desk is out of place. And do you know what I find the most vexing? This arrangement is much better. Now,I do believe in miracles, but I also believe that the good Lord has more important things on his mind than cleaning nasty refrigerators and redecorating offices. I want an explanation, and you girls are going to find it for me. You may snoop around to your hearts' content. So, do we have a deal?"  

Margaret stood up and shook hands with Sister Bernadette. "You came to the right place, Sister."  

"Satisfaction guaranteed," I added.  

"I'll be counting on that, Miss St. Pierre."  


Which explains, more or less, why we are spending a Friday afternoon in the subterranean rat kingdom that is St. Veronica's basement. Murder and intrigue. Espionage. Missing persons. Heck, even a lost dog. But tracking down some misguided do-gooder who is sneaking into the school at night to clean and straighten? Oy.  

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Michael D. Beil is an English teacher in a New York City high school. The Red Blazer Girls: The Vanishing Violin is his second book for Knopf, and he is currently at work on a third Red Glazer Girls mystery.

From the Hardcover edition.

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The Vanishing Violin (The Red Blazer Girls Series #2) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it! I highly reccomend it! :)
Claire Craig More than 1 year ago
I love all of the books with the red blazer grls in them. I probably like this one the best though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great book definitly worth reading. I highly recommend this book along with the others in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hois raf . Is he still
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cubicleblindnessKM More than 1 year ago
Another fantastic adventure of the Red Blazer Girls (given their name from the red blazers they wear for school) This time I listened to the audio book. But I have to say I did not enjoy the audiobook as much as I did reading the physical book of the Ring of Rocomadour. The main reason I would recommend the physical books instead of the audio is because of the clues. I found in the first book the clues are sometimes very visual. Although they are still worked through verbally in the audiobook it takes a lot of concentration and a notebook to solve the clues along with the girls and made it more difficult to work through. This time they are given two mysteries to work out. There is a strange case of somebody cleaning the school after hours, tidying desks and fixing broken machines that nobody else in the school has done. Then the case of the stolen violin, and they decide to start their own band. These girls are keeping busy that's for sure! Oh! then they get to deal with the mean girl Livvy who seems to be a little jealous of their new found celebrity status. This mystery is very complicated and honestly I never even saw the result coming. Don't you love when that happens?!? This time they get involved in more than one mystery. Fantastic humor and adventure that leads them all around New York. Another great book in the Blazer Girls Series. I love the humor and the adventures in these stories. You learn while you read in a very entertaining and fantastic reads. I could not chose my favorite clue on this one because I didn't get the visual from the audiobook I would have liked. My favorite part had to of been the ending though, when all the clues fit together!
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Is it??
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wish they put a picture of raf........... He sounds so delish