Mr. Samuel's Penny by Treva Hall Melvin

Release Date - November 2014

Treva Hall Melvin
Poisoned Pencil

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Lizbeth Landers and her younger sister are sent to her aunt and uncle's home in North Carolina to experience life outside of New York City. While she isn't sure what to expect in this sleepy town, things definitely look up when she stumbles onto a big mystery. A local woman's husband and baby are pulled from the river, after driving off it. The big mystery is that the 1909 wheat penny the driver was clutching in his hand is missing. With this one clue, Lizbeth sets out to explore what really happened to neighbor Miss Violet's husband and child.

With a bit of a Nancy Drew feel for the younger generation, I think Mr. Samuel's Penny will appeal to the budding mystery reader. Lizbeth at 14 is, of course, younger than Nancy Drew, but she's just as smart. The story is set in the 1970s, a time period I am familiar with, and the close bonds shared by many in the town reminded me of my own childhood.

All in all, this is a charming story that captures a bit of a coming-of-age story and a juvenile mystery. Marketed for the 12 to 18 range, I feel that is spot on.


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