The Mystery of the Martello Tower

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9780061257124: The Mystery of the Martello Tower

Hazel and Ned are home for summer vacation and looking forward to long, lazy days of sleeping late, shooting hoops, building stink bombs, and spending time with their art-dealer father. But when he disappears without saying good-bye, their summer plunges into chaos. The babysitter leaves town, their apartment is burgled, and two menacing thugs start turning up everywhere. Ned and Hazel try escaping to an island castle belonging to long-lost relatives, only to find there's no escaping this adventure. As the siblings work to untangle the threads that ensnare their father, they learn of a second, darker secret—one that surrounds their mother's death years ago. Only by solving both mysteries can they bring their father home.

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About the Author:

Jennifer Lanthier is a biotechnology journalist who lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and three children. In her free time she coaches middle-school basketball and dreams of jump shots and sky hooks. The Mystery of the Martello Tower is her first novel.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 4–8—Hazel Frump spends the week before her 12th birthday tackling two mysteries. She yearns to know more about her mother, who died long ago, and she faces the unexplained disappearance of her father, a Toronto art dealer. Hazel and her younger brother follow their father's paper trail, encountering shady art dealers and a long-lost branch of their family tree. The siblings join their newfound cousins on Ile du Loup in the St. Lawrence River, and together they piece together the hidden truths behind both of Hazel's mysteries. The Martello tower is a structure designed to guard a port or town, and it, too, plays a role in Hazel's discoveries. The novel contains enough red herrings and dead ends to build suspense and draw readers to its lively denouement. The ways in which family and art mix together emotionally ground the story and balance out occasional stilted writing and abrupt transitions. Lanthier has packed the story with a dizzying number of details, and the fact that the children end up without any adult presence seems contrived. That said, the mystery is tightly plotted, the setting emerges distinctly, and the art angle will please fans of Blue Balliett's Chasing Vermeer (Scholastic, 2004).—Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT
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