Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Greetings from Somewhere, Book 10 - The Mystery of the Secret Society

Italy, France, China, Kenya, India, Peru, Australia, Alaska, and now Greece - these two young twins, Ethan and Ella Briar, have certainly traveled the globe with their parents, as their mother continues her assignment as a travel writer for their local hometown paper, the Brookeston Times.  And, since this an early readers' mystery series, it seems at every port, the twins stumble across a new mystery.  This last book in the series is certainly no different.

And yes, you read that correctly.  This tenth book in the "Greetings from Somewhere" series is the last book to be published, having come out in March 2016.  Not sure why the series ended - if it was because of poor sales, or perhaps the author just ran out of ideas, or what.  It's a shame, really, as these were great early reader books that could certainly have been a stepping stone into the world of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.  But, alas, the series is gone, and I haven't seen them on the shelves at Barnes & Noble or Books-A-Million in quite a while.

Nevertheless, if the series was going to conclude, The Mystery of the Secret Society was certainly the way to do it.  The Briar family visits Athens, Greece this time around, and while the parents are helping Dr. Pappas with an archaeological dig, Ethan and Ella are pretty much left to their own devices (doesn't every pre-teen wish they had such freedom?!).  Before they can even leave the dig site, they stumble across a hint of the mystery to come - two images on one of the ancient walls - a hawk and a globe.  Ethan immediately recognizes them as the same images on the two sides of the coin their grandfather gave him wayyyyyyyy back in the first book of the series.

Is there a connection?  If so, what does it mean?

Enter: Dimitrios, a volunteer at the dig.  At first, he is gruff, but within moments, he warms to the children and leads them out of the cavern in which they had become lost.  The twins aren't sure what to think of him, but back at the hotel, they are more concerned about telling their grandfather about their find.  They e-mail him right away, hoping to get a response.

It soon becomes clear that there is more to the images than they first thought.  Dimitrios makes more and more appearances, leaving Ethan and Ella to wonder if he is following them.  Their grandfather is remaining unusually silent, with no e-mail responses, which is unusual for him.  Then, there is the strange crack in the wall with the two images.  And when Dimitrios volunteers to have the twins sit in on a Greek-language class he is teaching, they discover what type of person he really is, for instead he leads them back to the dig site, demanding they show him what they found!  The only problem is, they haven't found anything.  Or have they?

Author Harper Paris rounds out this series with a great little mystery that, in some ways, ties the books together in an unexpected way and a final farewell statement as the Briar family "headed out into the bright, sunny day.  A day full of mysterious possibilities."

As usual, Marcos Calo provides illustrations throughout the story, and as much as I hate to do it, I have to be nit-picky with one of the drawings.  On page 42, the text indicates that Greece is seven hours ahead of the Briar's hometown of Brookeston - yet, in the drawing of the two clocks at the top of the page, Greece shows the time as a little past 1:00, while Brookeston shows the time as a little past 8:00 - which is only five hours behind!  However, with 10 books and literally hundreds of illustrations, I suppose I can't blame him for one snafu!

I'll miss this little series, and it's a shame that young readers won't get to enjoy any more adventures of Ethan and Ella Briar as they travel 'round the world.  Bon Voyage, my little friends, and thanks for the mysteries you did share!

RATING:  8 broken statues of Greek gods out of 10 for making the fun of mysteries accessible even to the early readers!  (Greetings from Somewhere, you will be missed!)

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