From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7-This fourth book about events at the Bessledorf Hotel is, for its somewhat macabre premise, pleasantly daffy. The Magruder family runs the hotel, the only one in Middleburg, Indiana; it is around Bernie, the next-to-youngest child, that the story revolves. This time, he and his detective friends Georgene and Weasel are trying to solve a mystery involving a theft from the Higgins Roofing Company, coupled with its missing vice-president. This hot news literally overshadows the controversial opening of the drive-in window at the Bessledorf Funeral Parlor next door to the hotel. The basic plot plus myriad subplots involving the Magruder family members and pets, hotel guests, and other townspeople keep young readers alert and older curmudgeons forgiving of terminally goofy names, some marginal humor (having the characters pose as homeless children is not funny), and mild morals. One of the best images is the three children walking side by side up the driveway to the funeral home, collectively tripping the electric eye that parts the curtains and displays the body. Many kids will find it hilarious.
John Sigwald, Unger Memorial Library, Plainview, TX
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 4-6. Bernie Magruder, his eccentric family, and his friends Georgene and Weasel are dumbfounded when the Bessledorf Funeral Parlor is remodeled and has a grand reopening to show off the results--a drive-up viewing window to accommodate mourners who are in a hurry. But they're even more surprised when the vice president of the local roofing company disappears and so does the company's retirement fund. Is it foul play? Who is the strange man wandering around on the funeral home roof in the middle of the night? What does a chuck roast have to do with it? Is Officer Feeney right when he says the Magruders could have a robber staying in one of the rooms at their hotel and not even know it? And why is Bernie so sure everything is connected? Fans of the previous Bessledorf books will not be disappointed in this new mystery, and readers new to the series will want to go back and read the rest. The characters are amusing, red herrings abound, the mystery unravels at just the right pace, and this time, Georgene and Weasel make Bernie carry out some of his own risky plans. Chris Sherman