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Condition: Used: Good
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The Mystery of the Third Lucretia (A Kari and Lucas Mystery) Hardcover – April 17, 2008

32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* While visiting a Minneapolis art museum, 14-year-old best friends Kari and Lucas (both girls) are reprimanded by an artist copying a Rembrandt painting. Then, while visiting London with Kari’s journalist mother, the kids see the same man, recognizable despite a disguise, copying another Rembrandt. When international reports herald the discovery of a previously unknown Rembrandt painting, Kari and Lucas, both talented artists themselves, recognize the work of the “Gallery Guy.” Their suspicions lead them to Amsterdam, where, along with Kari’s mother, they uncover an international forgery scam that implicates a top Dutch curator. Like Blue Balliett’s Chasing Vermeer (2004), Runholt’s debut is a clever, well-structured mystery that seamlessly folds art history into its exciting premise. The forged painting tells the ancient Roman story of Lucretia, signaling a theme of women’s rights that Runholt carries throughout the book, from the girl’s innocent questions about Amsterdam’s red-light district to the strong female characters who drive the story. The pacing occasionally lags, but by the story’s end, Runholt skillfully pulls in what could have become peripheral narrative tangents. Kari’s authentic narration, her strong realistic friendship with Lucas, the cosmopolitan settings, and the carefully plotted mystery combine in a winning read that ends with the suggestion of continued adventures. Grades 7-10. --Gillian Engberg


Mystery fans will enjoy this clever, engaging story. -- Kirkus Reviews

[A] crackingly good and savvy heroines...and enough wonderful background info on great art and art-museum cities to fill a guidebook. I couldn't put it down! --Booksense

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 6 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 920L (What's this?)
  • Series: A Kari and Lucas Mystery
  • Hardcover: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile (April 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670062529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670062522
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,341,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

My official bio reads as follows:

Susan Runholt shares her teenage heroines' love of art and travel and commitment to feminism. She has traveled extensively in Europe, Asia and Africa and lived in Amsterdam and Paris, working as a bank clerk and an au pair. She's also been a waitress, a maid, a motel desk clerk, a laundress, a caterer, and, eventually, director of programming for South Dakota Public Television.

For the past two decades she has lived in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she serves as a fundraising consultant for social service and arts organizations. She was named runner-up for the Debut Dagger Award by the Crime Writers' Association of Great Britain for THE MYSTERY OF THE THIRD LUCRETIA. Her next mystery in the Kari and Lucas series, RESCUING SENECA CRANE, will be published by Viking Children's Books in 2009.

So much for the official bio.

One huge aspect of my life not mentioned in that little summary is my daughter, Annalisa. And she's a big part of THE MYSTERY OF THE THIRD LUCRETIA. In fact, it's not too much to say that without her, I would never have written that book. And I might not ever have written for kids.

The way it started was this. From the time Annalisa was really young, she and I always went to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts together for the same reason Kari and her mom went: because it was fun and it was free. Well, when she was eleven (this was sixteen years ago, because she's 27 now), we went there to see Rembrandt's two paintings of Lucretia, which were being exhibited together. Annalisa loved them. And when she read the sign on the wall beside the paintings and looked at the sad, sad woman Rembrandt had painted, she cried. This was such a big deal for her that she actually came home and wrote a letter to the museum director telling him how much she liked the paintings. He wrote a letter back and gave her some books and things. (The lesson here is that it always pays to say thanks, but sometimes it pays more than others.)

Two years later, she and I went to Europe and visited London and Paris. And it turned out that she loved to travel just as much as I did.

All this time, Annalisa was The Perfect Child. I am not kidding. She was always sweet and kind and never made any trouble for anyone. Well, when she turned fourteen she decided she was, um, over that. She'd been perfect, and now she was ready to do something else for a change. I'm not going to tell her story--it's her story, after all, not mine. But she and I had a terrible time getting along at that time. We could hardly say anything to each other without making each other mad or making each other cry. It was the hardest time in my whole life, and probably one of the hardest in hers, too.

I had written a book for adults by that time and had started writing a second. But at some point it occurred to me that maybe Annalisa and I could write a book together, and that would give us something to talk about. So I tried to think of what kind of a plot would be interesting to both of us. I'd already kind of decided that I wanted to write books that were set in faraway places, and since Annalisa loved London and Paris, I thought she'd be interested in a book set in those places. But what could the mystery be about? I thought and thought, and then I remembered how much she had loved Rembrandt's two Lucretias. That was how I came up with the idea of the Third Lucretia.

Writing a book together worked as a way of getting us talking. It was the one thing we could discuss without fighting. Annalisa decided who the characters would be, what their names would be, what they looked like and what their personalities were like. She read every part of the book and said things like, "Mo-om, kids wouldn't be interested in this!" or, "Yeah, this is really exciting!"

So when I say in the dedication that she helped me write the THIRD LUCRETIA, I'm totally serious. She really did. And I'm really, really grateful.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By RobynJC VINE VOICE on April 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're looking for a new book series to love, try this one! Mystery of the Third Lucretia stars Kari and Lucas, two funny, smart 14-year-old girls. They see a creepy guy up to no good in an art museum; and when they try to figure out what he's doing, lots of trouble starts. It's a really funny book -- I laughed on almost every page -- and really good action, with cliffhangers at the end of every chapter, so it's hard to put down. And there's interesting stories about art and travel, especially about Lucretia, the woman in the painting that started it all. My favorite part, though, is Kari and Lucas, and Kari's Mom Gillian. They're really funny and interesting and seem like people you know in real life - like a best friend. By the end of the book, you can't wait to read about what they do next. Definitely read this book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on October 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
After reading a glowing review of The Mystery of the Third Lucretia, I knew I wanted to read it. When it came in for me at the library, I first read the author's biography, which begins "Susan Runholt shares a love of art, travel and feminism with her teenage heroines." I would add reading to the list, but I'm proud to share the other three with Ms. Runholt, Lucas and Kari.

The Mystery of the Third Lucretia is the first (of many, I hope) Kari and Lucas mysteries. Kari and Lucas are best friends who live in St. Paul, Minnesota (a town I also happen to love). Kari's mom has one of the coolest jobs ever: she covers fashion and international culture for a teen magazine (if such a job exists, I would gladly apply for it.) Kari, who sees her father a few times a year, and Lucas, whose parents are eager to spend money for her to experience culture, often get to go along for the ride. The book takes place in St. Paul, London, Paris, and Amsterdam. The girls happen to find themselves trying to solve an international art mystery.

I cannot say enough positive things about this novel. I wish it existed when I was younger, but I still loved it as an adult. I laughed out loud often, learned things (in a delightfully unpreachy way) and eagerly awaited the mystery being solved. Kari and Lucas are both real girls and inspiring to women (and men) of all ages. I am eagerly awaiting my turn to read the second Kari and Lucas mystery, Rescuing Seneca Crane, which came out in August 2009. I wish I knew more young women so I could give this book to them; I know it would have meant the world to me as a younger woman. Happy reading, feminists, art lovers and mystery fans of all ages!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mel Odom VINE VOICE on August 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
The Mystery of the Third Lucretia is one of those books readers of all ages and genders want: a story that will immerse you in character and the world that lie within the pages. It's the first in a new series by a new writer, and I was totally blown away by how well Susan Runholt created her teen sleuths and plunged them into an art-based mystery while keeping the suspense tight and the chuckles at regular intervals.

Officially, the Kari + Lucas series are for the YA crowd, I'm thinking more for the aggressive 9-12 year old readers. The serious YA crowd is looking for vampires, brand names, and sexual tension. You won't find those things in this book. Instead, there's a great story, teens that are of this generation that stay focused on friendships, exploring their world, and the mystery they've inadvertently stumbled onto.

I love the two characters. Kari (our narrator) is a down-to-earth fourteen year old who enjoys the simple side of life and lives with her single mom, a magazine writer. Lucas (took me a while to get used to that name on a girl) is the daughter of rich, inattentive parents. Lucas is also the feisty one ready to dare anything while Kari likes at least a moment to weigh the risks before her curiosity and Lucas drag her into anything.

The plot revolving around Rembrandt's two Lucretia paintings was awesome too. I wasn't familiar with them and I liked discovering the sad story that were behind them. Runholt does a lot with the Lucretia story, sticking up for women's rights, but she does it without throwing it into the reader's face.

I had my willing suspension of disbelief bumped a few times with how events turned out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on September 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
Kari's mother works for a magazine that sends her to Europe at least once a year to write stories. Usually, they manage to bring along Kari's best friend, Lucas. Together the girls sometimes play tourist while Kari's mother works. Occasionally, they help her with her articles.

One trip to London proves to become a very different sort of trip than any of them imagined. While at the National Gallery, Kari and Lucas see an artist working near a Rembrandt painting of Lucretia. Before long, they become certain that they've seen this man before, only looking completely different.

They saw him in the art museum near their home, also next to the other Rembrandt Lucretia. The man's covering up his easel so no one can see his work. He also has a distinctive growl when anyone gets too close.

Kari and Lucas devise a plan to spy on the man, while changing their own appearances. In doing so, in order to understand what he's painting, they paint the objects they uncover by carefully sneaking glances at his work.

During their next trip to Europe, they hear about a discovery of a never-before-seen third Rembrandt painting from the Lucretia series. Kari and Lucas begin to add up the clues and discover that this painting is not an original work, but who would believe them and what evidence do they have for proof?

The first book in a series written in the first-person conveys the narrator's uncertainty about how to tell the story - there are many different possible beginnings, but Kari's voice rings true. While the reader can grasp the exact mystery from the beginning, they have fun solving the how and the why along with Kari and Lucas.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Rummel
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