Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile by Marcia Wells, illustrated by Marcos Calo

Sixth grader Edmund Xavier Lonnrot has an amazing ability.  He has a photographic mind and the artistic ability to be able to draw people he has mentally photographed.  Which is how Edmund ended up working undercover for the  NYPD.

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


OK, so I pulled this book off the shelf because of the Museum Mile in the title.  I live near it and was curious to see what part it plays in this novel.  I expected to read about the biggies like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but Marcia Wells focused on two smaller but excellent museums in their own right and tells you all about them in the book.  The Guggenheim is also mentioned but not so focused on.  If you are ever in NYC for a visit, you might want to include 1 or more of the 9 museums that can be found on Museum Mile in your itinerary.

10 comments:

  1. Thanks, Alex, for the great review- I'm glad you enjoyed Eddie:)

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    1. I enjoyed it very much and am looking forward to reading the next Eddie Red mystery.

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  2. A photographic mind has always been my idea of a ‘superpower’ forget Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak give me a photographic mind any day.
    We visited NYC a few years ago, but didn’t have time to do the museums. We really must visit again one of these days.

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    1. I wouldn't have minded a photographic mind in school, especially on some of the math and German exams, although an invisibility cloak still sounds pretty awesomes.
      I hope you do come again, NYC is a fun place. We could have tea! Of course, I want to return to England for a visit sometime and visit the other half of my family.

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  3. ooh, this looks awesome. I am a huge fan of middle grade mysteries, so I will be putting this one on our to read list. Thanks so much for a great review and for joining us on the Kid Lit Blog Hop

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  4. Sounds like a great read! I would love to have a photographic memory! (and secretly I would also love to work in forensics..) Thanks for the review!

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  5. Sounds like a great book for young readers. Mysteries are so much fun. Thanks for sharing on the Kid Lit Blog Hop!

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  6. Oh, that looks like so much fun! A middle grade mystery! For some strange reason, neither of my children are drawn to this genre. I need to start reading some Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys books to them. I inhaled all of those growing up! Thanks for sharing in the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

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