Wednesday, August 08, 2007


The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues

by Ellen Raskin

The author of my favourite kids mystery (The Westing Game) may have topped herself with this one. It's an oldie, nearly unknown, and totally overshadowed by the Newbery bestowed on her aforementioned, more famous work. Still, I loved it.

Art student Dickory Dock finds herself the apprentice of a strange artist, a man obssessed with disguise and detection, who teaches her the art of keen observation. The two of them solve a handful of mysteries for an NYPD detective, while some mysterious activities are going on in the artist's own house. Dickory, in the end, solves some older riddles, putting things to right as they should be.

Raskin's usual deft touch for telling detail left me guessing all the way through, as does her Westing Game, no matter how many times I read it. That, more than anything, tells me how much she draws me into her mysteries, because I don't do that with any other mysteries, adult or children's.

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