Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage

In this sequel to Sheila Turnage's Newbury Honor novel Three Times Lucky, Mo and her best friend Dale find themselves embroiled in another mystery after Miss Lana, one of Mo's guardians, accidentally places a high bid on an old dilapidated inn, complete with a certified ghost.

Another mystery for Mo and Dale of the Desperado Detective Agency to solve?  Maybe, after all, they have one successfully solved mystery under their belt.  And when Sixth Grade begins the next day, their teacher, Miss Retzyl, hands them the perfect way to solve the mystery of just who the ghost might be: a three page paper based on interviews with Tupelo Landings eldest citizens to mark the town's 250th anniversary.  What could be better than interviewing a ghost, after all, "ain't older than dead."

But interviewing the ghost for an A in history isn't Mo's only motivation.  If renovating the Inn fails, not only will Miss Lana and her financial partner Grandmother Miss Lacy Thornton face financial ruin, but so will many others in the town, including Dale's mother.  To make matters worst, there is something or someone underfoot sabotaging the renovations, and it doesn't appear to be the ghost.  And there are any number of possible suspects.

Like Mr. Red Baker, whose grandson Harm Crenshaw, 11, has come to live with him, has his own reasons for not wanting the Inn renovated.  Rumor has it that he is still making moonshine in a hidden still that has been in his family since the Inn was first opened so many years ago.  How else would he get the money he always has without a job?

Or maybe it's Harm's brother Flick Crenshaw, and his girlfriend, bank employee Miss Filch a/k/a Rat Face who also have an interest in the Inn.  But why remains a mystery until the end.

With half their History grade riding on a ghost interview, you have to wonder if the Desperado Detective Agency, Paranormal Division has bitten off more that it can chew as they delve into Tupelo Landing's past history and the people who were part of that history.  After all, everyone knows there is no such thing as ghosts.  Right...?

The day I picked up The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, I hadn't been able to really get into any of the other books I had piled up and which had to be read, so I didn't hold out much hope for this one, especially since it was a sequel that literally picks up where the first book ends.  Well, a few hours later, when I finished it, I had that wonderful feeling of satisfaction that comes after reading a good book.

Turns out that The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing is the kind of sequel that can be read without having to read the proceeding book.  There is enough information given about Mo and Dale's background to understand what you need to without retelling the first book.  Which is nice, although now I want to read Three Times Lucky anyway.

There are also some very nice elements about acceptance and getting along that really appealed to me.  Although Mo and Dale start out not liking Harm very much, which isn't an unusual problem for new kids, little by little they begin to find the kind of common ground that leads to friendship.

And I loved the way the generations interacted and treated each other.  There is a mutual respect and acceptance between most of the adults and kids.  Adults are not the brunt of snarky remarks by the kids, who think they are smarter that the grown ups around them.  Mo is definitely a charismatic character, but not at anyone else's expense.

The characters a well-fleshed out and the mystery is fun, making The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing is a novel with lots of personality.  It is the kind of story that makes you hope that you will see Mo and Dale, Harm, Miss Lana, Grandmother Miss Lacy and Mo's other guardian the Colonel again in a third Tupelo Landing story.  Fingers crossed!

This book is recommended for readers age 9+
This book was ARC from the publisher

FYI: This is a map of Tupelo Landing on the front and back endpapers of the hardback version.  It wasn't included in the ARC but would have been very handy.


  1. History and mystery...two of my favorites.

  2. Now you've just got to read the first one! The audio version was phenomenal - positively dripping with Southern atmosphere. :)

    1. Thanks, I will definitely give that a try. Someone recommended the audio version of The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp with Lyle Lovett and it was such a perfect marriage of book and reader, so I take audio recommendations very seriously.


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