Extra puzzle-solving mysteries

Hi all, I hope you managed to find the Tuckernuck books and are laughing out loud reading them!! Here in this extra post I have a small selection of books for fans of puzzle-solving and code-cracking amateur middle grade sleuths. Hope you enjoy these as much as I did!!

Four grid in blue background left top Framed! boy peeping out of white spotlight and frame top right Vanished! boy and girl empty chair in spotlight bottom left Trapped! hand closing blue safe door boy and girl silhouette inside
Mystery series

Titles: Framed!  Vanished! Trapped!

Author: James Ponti

Genre: Fiction – contemporary

Publication details: Aladdin; NY, 2017 & 2018

What these books are about: Florian Bates has just moved to Washington D.C. He’s learning his way around using TOAST, which stands for the Theory Of All Small Things. It’s a technique he invented to solve life’s little mysteries, such as where to sit on the first day of school, or which Chinese restaurant has the best egg rolls. In the first book, Framed, Florian teaches TOAST to his new friend Margaret, and they uncover a mystery that involves the National Gallery, the FBI, and a notorious Mafia syndicate known as EEL. Can Florian decipher the clues and finish his homework in time to help the FBI solve the case? The second book, Vanished, Florian and Margaret have to go undercover at a boarding school. Something to do with middle school pranks. Sounds pretty ordinary, except that the president’s daughter may be involved. The third installment, Trapped, has Florian and Margaret on a very personal mission. Their FBI supervisor, Marcus Rivers, is accused of a variety of crimes, and it’s up to them to jump into action and clear his name, because Marcus is more than their boss – he’s family. 

My review: An exhilarating group of adventure stories that reads more like an action movie!! Our mystery-solving duo of Florian and Margaret are quite funny and entertaining. I really enjoyed each of these stories!! For me, they would make an exceptional series of movies!! Plenty of fast-paced action adventure mixed in with hard-core code-cracking and puzzle-solving, thanks to Florian’s TOAST method!! The last book, Trapped, had me bewitched as it contained some awesome library-related clues and codes!! If you enjoy adventure and mystery with a twist to it, then this series is for you!!

My rating: 5 ⭐

Additional notes: Framed claimed the Parent’s Choice Award  in 2016, and was nominated the Edgar Award in the same year. Vanished was awarded the Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Book in 2018. 

Book scavenger series large orange background three small book covers corner left Book Scavenger words on roof girl and boy silhouetted through windows Unbreakable code in middle boy and girl running on map Alcatraz Escape kids in shadow looking towards island prison in middle
Literary puzzle solving series

Titles: Book Scavenger, The Unbreakable Code, The Alcatraz Escape

Author: Jennifer Chamblis Bertman

Illustrator: Sarah Watts

Genre: Fiction – contemporary

Publication details: Henry Holt & Co; NY, 2015, 2017, 2018

What these books are about: Twelve-year-old Emily and her family have relocated to San Francisco; home of her literary idol, Garrison Griswold, creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger, a game where books are hidden all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles. In the first story, Book Scavenger, Emily teams up with neighbour and friend James on a hunt for a special book across San Francisco with some help from her brother, Matthew. But there are others on the hunt for this special book, and the kids must race to solve the puzzles Griswold left behind. The second story, The Unbreakable Code, we follow Emily and James as they uncover a trail of encrypted messages in books hidden by Mark Twain hidden through Book Scavenger, the online game. What’s most suspicious is that each hidden book triggers an arson. The clock is ticking as the fires multiply, while Emily and James race to crack the code of a lifetime. In the last book, The Alcatraz Escape, Garrison Griswold has planned an epic escape-room challenge, “Unlock the Rock,” on Alcatraz Island with a mystery writer Errol Roy. But just as the fun starts for Emily and James, they realize they’ve become a target. Threatening notes, stolen items, and a vicious plot to frame Emily’s brother, Matthew, emerge to sabotage the sleuthing duo – at any cost. Now the friends must find their invisible enemy as they compete in Unlock the Rock, and both mysteries will pull them into the perilous Alcatraz underground. 

My review: An awesome set of books to read!! Paying homage to Chris Grabenstein’s Lemoncello series, this delightful story will have you excited with all the literary quizzes and codes!! The whole concept of Book Scavenger is very exciting and reading Emily’s adventure in San Francisco even more!! Some amazing and funny characters in Emily and James along with their supporting cast of family and friends !! Jennifer Chamblis Bertman is an engaging and amazing writer to have drawn inspiration from historical facts and events to spin these three stories!! A great series for bibliophiles and lovers of all things to do with libraries like me!! Loved the cute illustrations in all three books by Sarah Watts too!

My rating: 5 ⭐

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