|Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window|
Could this be the missing Vermeer?
I refused to let my spirits be dampened by the somewhat disappointing read, The Westing Game (here). Therefore, I checked out another book that I thought sounded intriguing and was mentioned in the recent article about great kid detectives - Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett.
Just a few chapters in and I am already smitten. The action takes place in Chicago. So far there are three mysterious letters; two young students - Petra who loves words and writing, and Calder who prefers patterns and numbers; their exciting and eccentric teacher Ms. Hussey; the puzzling pentominoes; a missing valuable painting; and, a bookstore.
There are also illustrations by Brett Helquist that contain hidden messages to help solve the mystery.
Here is a brief description of the bookstore:
Powell's was one of Petra's favorite places; it was peaceful, and you never knew what you might find. It looked more like a warehouse than a store -- books were piled everywhere, and the rooms were jumbled together in a mismatched way. Although Petra had been inside many times, it always felt like a labyrinth. One dimly lit area led to the next, and suddenly you were back where you started without knowing how you got there. No one asked if you needed help. No one frowned if you read but didn't buy.
Sounds like my kind of place.