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The Mystery of the Suspicious Spices (Greetings from Somewhere) Paperback – December 9, 2014
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About the Author
Harper Paris loves to travel. Her favorite cities in the world are Paris (like her name!) and New York City. She has collected many souvenirs on her travels, including a good-luck coin from Japan and a reindeer-horn pendant from Sweden. She also loves mysteries. When she was a kid, she read Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books after bedtime with a flashlight. She now lives with her family (including two cats and a bunny, who are not good travelers) in Ithaca, New York.
Marcos Calo has worked as a professional artist for more than fourteen years. He has worked in different fields including illustration, animation, and comic books. He lives with his wife and daughter in A Coruña, a small Spanish town by the seaside.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Mystery of the Suspicious Spices
A New Mystery?
“This is the coolest castle I’ve ever seen!” Ethan Briar exclaimed.
“It’s not a castle. It’s a palace,” his twin sister, Ella, corrected him. “It says so right here in Dad’s guidebook. ‘Taj Mahal’ means ‘crown of palaces.’ ”
Ethan shrugged. “Castle, palace, whatever. It’s still awesome!”
“An emperor named Shah Jahan built it in memory of his wife back in the sixteen hundreds,” their dad, Andy, explained.
“It has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world,” their mom, Josephine, added. “Millions of people visit it every year.”
“Wow!” Ella stared in awe at the white marble building. It was really beautiful—and really big, too!
The Taj Mahal was the latest stop on the Briar family’s trip across India. So far, they’d visited a tea plantation, a desert, and a snow-capped mountain. They had ridden on a small, old-fashioned train called a “toy train” that chugged up steep hills. They’d seen lots of temples, including one shaped like a giant stone frog. Tomorrow morning, they were flying to the city of Mumbai, which was on the Arabian Sea.
Mrs. Briar was a travel writer for their hometown newspaper, the Brookeston Times. Her job was to write articles about interesting places all over the world. The Briars had already been to Venice, Italy; Paris, France; and Beijing, China. Their last adventure before India was a safari in Africa! While Mrs. Briar worked, Mr. Briar homeschooled Ethan and Ella in their second-grade lessons.
Mr. Briar pointed his camera at the twins. “Let me get a photo of you kids standing on the steps. Wait. Why can’t I see anything?”
“You forgot to take off the lens cap, Dad,” Ethan told him.
Mr. Briar laughed. “Oh, right! Okay, here we go. Smile!” Click!
Just then, Mrs. Briar’s cell phone rang. She answered it. “Hello? Yes, this is Jo Briar.”
She spoke to the person on the other end for a few moments. When she hung up, she said, “That was Mr. Deepak Singh. He’s an old friend of Grandpa Harry, and he lives in Mumbai. He invited us to dinner tomorrow night.”
Top customer reviews
There are pencil drawings throughout the story. They are really quite exquisite and detailed especially for a young children's novel. The pictures help speed the story along and explain some of the concepts.
The mystery itself was extremely simple. This is not necessarily a bad thing for this age group. The text is large and the details kept as simple as possible for young readers. There are a lot of Indian words and concepts which will be more difficult to read and yet adds interest. This story is advertised for ages 5-9, but I don't believe very many 5 and 6 year olds will be able to read this independently. It can certainly be read to them. I would recommend this book to advanced first graders up to third grade.