The Wright 3
by Blue Balliett
In this sequel to Chasing Vermeer
, three young unconventional thinkers solve another mystery involving art, crime, and (possibly) the paranormal. Once again set in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, The Wright 3
reunites the heroes of the first book and adds a third. Calder, who does a lot of free-association thinking aided by a set of three-dimensional pentominoes, finds himself torn between his new best friendPetra, who discovers things through writingand his old best friend who had moved away but has now moved backfish-collecting, treasure-finding Tommy, whose habit of jealousy is unattractive yet understandable, considering that he has been abandoned by not one but two fathers.
Now Tommy lives next door to the Robie House, a 100-year-old masterpiece by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, which is now in danger of being pulled down and displayed in pieces at museums around the world. Together, and sometimes separately, the three youthful sleuths try to get to the bottom of mysteries surrounding a house that sometimes seems to have a life, even a mind and will, of its own. Their snooping uncovers tragedies and treasures in the houses history, plus some present-day odditiesincluding a suspicious accident, strange patterns in the custom-designed art glass windows, movements behind the windows when the house is supposed to be empty, and perhaps a portentous connection with a classic tale of horror and suspense. Plus, while they work on solving the mystery of the houses past and saving its future, the three children also have problems in their relationship that need to be worked out.
If you like a quirky, slightly creepy mystery full of clues, codes, symbols, and puzzles, be sure to visit The Wright 3. Author Balliett has a special way of endearing her young characters to you, even though they are unusual heroes in many ways. And illustrator Brett Helquist, best known for his work on Lemony Snickets books, provides a set of full-page illustrations that are worth studying in detail. The most mysterious secret of this book, like Chasing Vermeer, is how it provokes thought (and even at times passion) while at the same time offering pure entertainment.
Recommended Age: 12+
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