Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

Three Times LuckyInformation

Goodreads: Three Times Lucky
Series: Tupelo Landing #1
Source: Library
Published: May 10, 2012

Official Summary

Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone’s business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she’s been making waves ever since. Although Mo hopes someday to find her “upstream mother,” she’s found a home with the Colonel–a café owner with a forgotten past of his own–and Miss Lana, the fabulous café hostess. She will protect those she loves with every bit of her strong will and tough attitude. So when a lawman comes to town asking about a murder, Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, set out to uncover the truth in hopes of saving the only family Mo has ever known. Full of wisdom, humor, and grit, this timeless yarn will melt the heart of even the sternest Yankee.


Three Times Lucky is carried headlong by sixth grader protagonist Mo.  Mo was born Upstream but washed down to Tupelo Landing in a hurricane, where she was adapted by the Colonel and Miss Lana.  So when a murder occurs in normally sleepy Tupelo, and everyone from the Colonel to Mo’s best friend Dale seems to be a suspect, Mo is determined to take detecting matters into her own hands to find the real criminal.

The story latches onto Mo’s personality from there. Although she has wistful dreams of one day finding her Upstream Mother, Mo is mostly swagger, sass, and Southern brass.  Personally, I alternated on whether Mo’s attitude makes her an admirable go-getter or an annoying sixth grader who doesn’t know when to back down, but any reader would have to admit she makes the story interesting.  She inserts herself into every aspect of the investigation that the real police/detectives are investigating, inviting herself everywhere from taped-off crime scenes to private interrogations.

To make matters even more exciting, this is hardly an ordinary murder mystery.  Author Sheila Turnage makes sure to throws in a plethora of characters just as wild and unique as Mo, ensuring that the plot takes a number of unpredictable turns.  One of the bad guys starts standing out near the end of the novel, but otherwise the case will be tough for the readers to crack–just the way a good mystery should work.

Overall, Three Times Lucky is a spunky adventure.  It manages to instill readers with the sense that Mo and her friends are in just a touch of danger, while still not taking the fact that there was a murder in town too seriously.  There’s too much quirk in the book for it to be dark.  Recommended for readers who like sassy heroines and wild murder mysteries.


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