Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage is a middle-grade mystery set in small-town North Carolina. Eleven-year-old Mo LoBeau doesn't have what you might call a normal family life -- when she was a baby, she was washed down the river in the aftermath of a hurricane, right into the arms of the Colonel, who was himself suffering from amnesia. Now Mo, the Colonel, and flamboyant Miss Lana run a cafe in Tupelo Landing, and Mo regularly sends out messages in bottles to her "Upstream Mother," asking anyone who's traveling upriver to drop one in the current for her. Other than existential angst over her biological origins, however, Mo is fairly content and happy in her small-town world. Then, one day, a cafe regular is murdered, a couple of big-city detectives roll into town, and Mo's entire world seems about to be torn up by the roots. She and her family may even find themselves in danger. Can Mo, along with her sidekick Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, solve the mystery?

This was a fairly enjoyable read. I have to admit, any story with amnesia as a major plot point makes me roll my eyes a little bit. The writing style felt like a cross between Polly Horvath and Kate DiCamillo -- authentic Southern charm with a hint of straight-up weirdness. Readers who like books by those authors will probably like this one. For me, it was just all right, not fantastic.

(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)

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