Sophie and Sam Shattenberg are two Jewish sisters from Queens, New York. Both love knishes and kosher pickles. Both have said "I’m wawkin’ here!" to cab drivers—and meant it. When the unthinkable happens and their father dies, the girls are devastated. Desperate to get away from their greedy stepmother, they withdraw their father’s money from the bank, pick up fake IDs, and hit the road. All is well until their car breaks down outside of Venice, Indiana, a town so isolated that the mechanic tells them, "You could get lost here forever." Which is exactly what they decide to do....
When Sophie starts school, she notices a flyer for a lecture featuring Professor Leo Shattenberg. Could this be their grandfather’s missing cousin, believed to be dead since World War II? At the lecture, Sam and Sophie discover that Professor Shattenberg has a missing person of his own—a childhood sweetheart who, like him, had a love of chocolate. Seeing their chance, the girls offer to help the professor find his missing sweetheart—all the time running their own investigation of him.
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M. E. Rabb is a fresh voice in teen fiction. She has had numerous stories published in Seventeen magazine as well as in the Atlantic Monthly, Zoetrope, and the Chicago Review.From Booklist:
Reviewed with M. E. Rabb's The Rose Queen.
Gr. 7-10. The first titles in the new Missing Persons mystery series introduce teen orphans Samantha and Sophie Shattenberg, sisters who flee their Queens, New York, home after their father's death to escape their stepmother, who intends to abscond with the family money and ship Sophie off to boarding school. A few felonies later (fake documentation; funds illegally transferred from their father's account), the girls settle into a new life, and new identities, in tiny Venice, Indiana. In The Rose Queen, the girls become prime suspects in the disappearance of an obnoxious local beauty queen and crack the case to clear their names. That success turns into jobs with the local PI, and in Chocolate Lover, they connect art stolen during the Holocaust with its missing owner while exploring their own family tree. Although Rabb indulges in a few small-town stereotypes, she creates breezy, compelling mysteries that can be read as stand-alone titles. More interesting, though, are the deeper identity struggles of the likable sisters, who cherish their New York Jewish roots even as they try to live (and fall in love) while masquerading as young, midwestern gentiles. Gillian Engberg
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