The Case of the Vanishing Emerald

The Case of the Vanishing Emerald

Book - 2015
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In Victorian London, Maisie Hitchins, a young detective who lives in her grandmother's boarding house, finds herself immersed in the excitement and glamour of the theater when she investigates the theft of a valuable necklace belonging to an actress friend of a longtime boarder.
Publisher: Boston ; New York : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, [2015]
ISBN: 9780544339279
Branch Call Number: JF WEBB
Characteristics: 168 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm.
Additional Contributors: Lindsay, Marion - Illustrator


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May 23, 2015

SUMMARY: Maisie's grandmother runs a boarding house in Victorian London. Maisie likes to solve mysteries. One of the boarders is an actress named Miss Lane. Her actress friend Lila is distressed because a priceless necklace has been stolen from her dressing room. When accidents begin to happen, she also begins to believe in the story that the necklace is cursed. Miss Lane asks Maisie to come to the theater to help Lila and to find the necklace. Will Maisie find the necklace before Lila's fiancé returns and notices the necklace he gave her is missing?

ILLUSTRATIONS: There are simple but pleasant drawings throughout the book which help to move the story along and to add interest.

THE GOOD: The characters and time period are interesting. The book is well written. The mystery is intriguing and the story moves at a nice clip for those who like a quick read.
THE NOT AS GOOD: I had mixed feelings about this book because it is structured like an early reader with a very simple storyline, an easy mystery, and light history. There were holes in the time period such as the fact that Maisie, a "well-brought-up girl", is allowed to be out alone at night. This would never have happened. Some of the language is also not correct for this time period. And yet, the book is advertised for grades 4-7 and is written on about a 5th grade level. The vocabulary at times is on a very high level. So what audience is this book truly written for the way it is structured?

AGE RECOMMENDATION: I think this book is best suited to children in grades 2-3 who are far advanced in their reading level as well as 4th and 5th graders who want a very quick and easy mystery to read.


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