From School Library Journal
Grade 6–9—Jen's mother disappeared when Jen was a toddler but Grandma Kay is convinced that Ellen was murdered. While working at her grandmother's bed-and-breakfast for the summer, 17-year-old Jen must play a part in the annual murder mystery weekend. However, she gets more than she bargained for as she comes to the realization that the plot is alarmingly similar to her mother's disappearance. Taking on the role of Ellen and playing the victim, Jen is surrounded by people from her mother's past. Through the course of the mystery, she begins to piece together clues about what really happened. The characters are likable enough but hardly memorable. The mystery, while somewhat interesting, is wrapped up much too neatly in the last few pages and is not much of a surprise. Still, the book has wholesome characters and an innocent love story.—Jessie Spalding, Tempe Public Library, AZ
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It’s “Mystery Weekend” at Grandma Kay’s elegant Schoenhaus, the bed and breakfast where Jen is working for the summer. Fourteen years have passed since her mother Ellen’s unexplained disappearance, and yet the campy weekend theatrics trigger painful plot comparisons and unanswered questions about Ellen’s plight. Does the intricate role-playing somehow mirror the true crime, if the disappearance was indeed crime related? Moreover, is the domineering Kay artfully directing the farce to try to expose clues and possible witnesses in the actual cold case? Jen labors under a heavy emotional burden as she confronts the loss of her mother and tries to sort out details relating to years of letters in the mail, supposedly from Ellen. Now, something else has just arrived as a gift—her mother’s ring. Mystery fans will root for Jen and speculate away as they try to figure out what really happened in this somewhat awkwardly structured coming-of-age-within-a-whodunit tale. Grades 7-10. --Anne OMalley