Thursday, July 5, 2012
Closed For the Season by Mary Downing Hahn
Closed For the Season by Mary Downing Hahn (Sandpiper, 2009)
Summary from publisher:
The weather-beaten sign on the gate of the Magic Forest says CLOSED FOR THE SEASON.
But when the boys ride up to it on their bikes, Arthur tells his new friend, Logan, that the old amusement park hasn't been open for years. The overgrown park looks sinister even in broad daylight, so Logan is reluctant to go inside, but Arthur urges him on. He's sure they'll uncover important clues to the mystery they're trying to solve: Who killed Myrtle Donaldson? And what happened to the money she handled as the head bookkeeper at the Magic Forest?
Arthur and Logan's quest takes them to the lowest - and highest - levels of society in their small Virginia town. The boys must pay another visit to the Magic Forest, this time in the middle of the night. And this time, they find the killer waiting for them...
Mary Downing Hahn is known for her creepy-scary stories for kids, so I was expecting a ghost story more than a crime-solving story. Of course, if I had read the back of the book, I would have known, but I didn't, so there you go.
Even though I didn't get quite what I expected with this book it was still a fun read. From the moment Logan finds out a woman was murdered in his new-for-him house, he and next-door-neighbor Arthur set out to figure out 1) WHO murdered Myrtle Donaldson and 2) was the fortune embezzled from the Magic Forest amusement park hidden in the house as many people believed?
As an adult reader, I could see the clues and red-herrings coming, but a younger reader who perhaps has limited experience reading such books would enjoy the plot twists Hahn worked into the story. Certainly they will enjoy joining Logan and Arthur on their hair-raising adventure to solve the mystery.
While not my favorite of Hahn's many books, Closed For the Season is a great read for middle-grade readers and makes a great first rung on a ladder that will lead to more "grown-up" mysteries such as those by Agatha Christie or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.