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The Code Busters Club, Case #1: The Secret of the Skeleton Key [Kindle Edition]

Penny Warner
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Bad guys beware!
Cody, Quinn, Luke, and M.E. may be really different, but they all share one thing in common: they love playing around with codes. In fact, they love codes so much, they have their own private club, with a super-secret hideout and passwords that change every single day. 

When Cody and Quinn notice what could be a code on the window of a nearby house, the one owned by their strange neighbor, the guy they call Skeleton Man, the club gets to work. And it is a cry for help! 

Now the Code Busters are on the case—and nothing will stop them from solving the mystery and finding the secret treasure that seems to be the cause of it all!
This exciting interactive mystery offers more than fifteen codes for you to decipher, including the Consonant code, Morse code, and American Sign Language. Test your brain with the Code Busters and solve the mystery along with them. Answers are in the back, if you ever get stuck.
For more code-breaking fun, visit and join the club!
Ages 8–12

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Penny Warner’s middle-grade mystery, The Mystery of the Haunted Caves, won an Agatha Award and an Anthony Award in 2002 for Best Juvenile Mystery. Her books have received excellent reviews and have been printed in fourteen countries throughout the world.

Warner lives in Danville, California. Visit her online at

Product Details

  • File Size: 4280 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004KPM1O4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #782,009 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Secret Codes for Kids September 25, 2011
When I was a child, I was happiest when immersed in a Hardy Boy book, cracking codes and solving mysteries right along with Joe & Frank. My nieces enjoy this genre as well and were thrilled to discover this new series by Penny Warner. Readers get the chance to decipher actual puzzles at every twist and turn, with answers in the back. You can imagine how excited my niece was when she figured out the mystery before the characters in the book did. The story is engaging, the codes are fun and the kids learn a ton without even realizing how much they are learning. For instance each chapter heading, is spelled out in American sign language. Great read for any school age kid.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Code Busters Club November 7, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Book #70 Read in 2012
The Code Busters Club by Penny Warner (YA)

This is the first in a mystery series. Four young adults form a club where they pass secret messages written in code back and forth. Their neighbor, whom they call Skeleton Man, is taken to the hospital after his house catches fire. But was it an accidental fire or set by his newly arrived family members? The kids decide to investigate.

This book was a good mystery and used the codes in an interesting way to move the plot along. I could see readers who liked solving codes really enjoying this book. There are two male and two female protagonists so I think both male and female readers would be drawn to this book. It was a good, quick read.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun challenge! August 28, 2013
By JennieR
Format:Kindle Edition
This is now my new favorite gift for 8-12 year olds! Very good story that makes the reader investigate as they go. The chapter titles are in sign language! - How fun! I also joined the club and got the great code buster cards that just added another enjoyable dimension to the book. For that reader that just needs a little more challenge - in a fun way - this is the perfect book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great New Series September 30, 2011
My son (almost 6) and I really enjoyed reading the book together and solving the codes. The book has a variety of different codes, so it was almost like a puzzle book inside an adventure book. The story is fun and engaging, and my son really liked hearing about kids solving a mystery. We can't wait for another Code Busters Club case!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Have you ever wanted to be part of a secret club with secret passwords, code names, and your own hideout? Then you’ll feel right at home with Dakota “Cody” Jones and the rest of the Code Busters Club! Cody’s the new girl in town, having recently moved when her parents divorced. She’s still dealing with the big DIVORCE, so it helped when she found a coded invitation from Quinn, the club’s founder. Alongside Quinn and the other Code Busters, Luke and M.E., Cody exchanges secret coded messages and cracks codes and puzzles for fun. They’re all in the sixth grade, and Cody likes school, but she’d never admit to it! One night Quinn and Cody notice some strange happenings at a neighbor’s house. The next morning they awaken to find the neighbor’s house on fire, and suddenly their code busting is put to the test, and the stakes are higher than any game. This could mean the difference between life and death!

From the moment you crack the cover of The Secret of the Skeleton Key, it is clear you’re wading in different waters. You’ll feel you’ve been granted special access as you are greeted with the club rules and club dossiers that disclose the identities of all four members, as well as their code names, descriptions, special skills, and other privileged information. And once you reach the table of contents, it’s clear your active participation will not only be encouraged but required! Each chapter title, both in the table of contents and at each chapter heading, is encoded in pictorial American Sign Language finger spellings. So you’ll immediately be flipping to the indexed key at the back of the book and learning finger spelling on the fly in order to figure out what the first chapter will be all about. And trust me, it’s a challenge!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Codebusters Club Book Review May 25, 2012
A Kid's Review
The Codebusters Club is a good detailed book that's pretty good. My favorite part is by far the codes. They're fun, a challenge, and creative. That's the main reason I like this book. You should buy this book and figure out all the codes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Code Busters Club, Case #1 September 25, 2011
Penny has done it again. A book full of mystery, excitement, thrills and chills. Kids will love it, solve the puzzles, and beg for the next case to solve. This book really doesn't have an age limit. As an adult, I loved it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good book February 23, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
this book keeps kids thinking on probabilities to solutions when a puzzle is presented. this book is very interesting because before you can read a solution to a situation you have the opportunity to solved before reading about it. I love puzzles and this book have different ways to solutions.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I love that there is lots of great factual information woven ...
I have been reading this series aloud to my 7 year old son and he is hooked! We are really enjoying learning about all different kinds of codes. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Short Family
5.0 out of 5 stars Sounds... AWESOME!!!
I haven't read any of the books, but Penny Warner came to my school and talked about the book and spy stuff. I really want to read the book!!!
Published 3 months ago by Puja S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Grandkids love these books.
Published 4 months ago by JaxSax
5.0 out of 5 stars None
this book was great and really challenged my thinking on the codes and hidden messages. It definitly was one of the best books i've ever read
Published 6 months ago by D&B DeHoust
5.0 out of 5 stars First in the series! Collect them all!
Fun series for kids! They'll love the mystery and enjoy breaking the codes!
Published 6 months ago by Camillet25
5.0 out of 5 stars Code Busters #1
Our 8 yr. old grandson was sooo into Sponge Bob books, this book broke him out of his niche and forced him to read more advanced material --- of which he's capable. Read more
Published 6 months ago by L. S. Driskell
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Seemed like a good gift!
Published 7 months ago by sharon miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My 8 year-old son loved it. It is a very short reader with option to staying with the series.
Published 9 months ago by Ayako Matsumoto
5.0 out of 5 stars Great summer read!
Great book, what I really like about this series of books is that it really draws the reader in and continually keeps them thinking right up to the last pages. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Nana244now
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book
I love this book I read it in 1 hour!
Five star book I recommend this code busters club book!

Published on April 11, 2013 by Brad W Rocher
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More About the Author

Penny Warner has published over 60 books for both adults and children. Her first mystery series featuring Connor Westphal, a deaf reporter in the California Gold Country, won a Macavity Award for Best First Mystery, and was nominated for an Agatha and an Anthony Award. Books in the series include, DEAD BODY LANGUAGE, SIGN OF FOUL PLAY, and RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT. All are available on Kindle.

Her other mystery series features event planner, Presley Parker, and is set in the San Francisco Bay Area. HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY, offers a wedding on Alcatraz, HOW TO CRASH A KILLER BASH, features a Murder Mystery Party at the de Young Museum, HOW TO SURVIVE A KILLER SÉANCE, presents a Séance Party at the Winchester Mystery House, and HOW TO PARTY WITH A KILLER VAMPIRE is set in Colma, the City of Souls. HOW TO DINE ON KILLER WINE offers a mystery in the Napa Wine Country.

Her middle-grade mystery, CODE BUSTERS CLUB: SECRET OF THE SKELETON KEY, was nominated for an Agatha Best Juvenile Mystery Award. It features four kids who solve a mystery by cracking codes in each chapter. The second book in the series, CODE BUSTERS: THE HAUNTED LIGHTHOUSE, is set on Alcatraz. (Join the Code Busters Club at Her non-fiction book, THE OFFICIAL NANCY DREW HANDBOOK, was nominated for an Agatha Award.

She writes a column for the local newspaper on family life in the Valley, creates fund-raising murder mystery events for libraries across the country, and teaches child development at Diablo Valley College. She can be reached at or

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