Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile by Marcia Wells, illustrated by Marcos Calo
It all began the day his dad had to break the bad news to Edmund that he would not be returning to his private Upper East Side school Senate for 7th grade; they just couldn't afford it anymore. But just as this conversation was starting, Edmund and his dad heard a woman's shout for help coming out of an alley. Telling Edmund to call the police, his dad took off to help the lady. Luckily, Edmund saw the "perp" and was able draw a much better likeness of him than the police artist.
And so, Edmund Lonnrot became Eddie Red, working undercover for the gruff Detective Bovano, who clearly resents having this young kid doing police work. Nevertheless, Eddie works weekends at either the Jewish Museum on Fifth Avenue and East 92nd Street or the Neue Galerie on Fifth Avenue and East 86th Street, NYC. His job is to pretend to be a student artist, all the while keeping an eye out for anyone that looks like the pictures Det. Dovano very quickly showed him of the perps.
At first, Eddie seems to just bungle everything. Working without any information, though, Eddie soon begins to figure out what he is looking for and why with the help of his best friend, the very OCD Jonah, whose latest obsession is all things military.
The case has become important to Eddie. If he can help solve it, the police department will make a donation allowing him to return to his private school in September. If he botches it, he is, as we used to say when I was a kid, "sorry outta luck." But when the case is given a deadline, Eddie is no closer to figuring it out than he was before.
Can he and Jonah accomplish what the police couldn't and do it under pressure of this deadline?
Even though Eddie Red Undercover requires a fair amount of suspension of disbelief on the part of the reader (as if the NYPD would ever hire a young kid), it is a fun, entertaining book. It is told in the first person by Edmund?Eddie, who has a pretty good sense of humor about things, one can even see the beginnings of a nice wry touch forming. He is a really likable, somewhat geeky (in the best sense of the word) young man, whip smart and from an intact family - mom and dad are still in the picture. He is also African American.
Eddie's friend Jonah is a big eater of peanut butter sandwiches and is also whip smart with a well developed ability to detect patterns in anything, I would have liked to learn a little more about Jonah, but maybe in future Eddie Red novels. Still, together Edmund and Jonah form quite the dynamic duo.
The novel is a nice lighthearted mystery that is sure to appeal to middle school readers. Edmund is an astute observer of people and has plenty to say about them that will tickle a young readers funny bone. But there is also plenty of excitement for them as well.
This book is recommended for readers age 9+
This book was borrowed from the NYPL