Goodreads: Finally, Something Mysterious
Series: None (so far)
Paul Marconi and his two best friends, Shanks and Peephole, love solving mysteries–but they have never had the chance to solve a real one until the day hundreds of rubber duckies show up in Mr. Babbage’s backyard. The adults dismiss it as a prank, and the police don’t seem to think it’s a real crime, but Paul and his friends are determined to find the culprit. Could it be someone who wants to take Mr. Babbage’s title as champion of the annual bratwurst competition? The kids are on the case!
Finally, Something Mysterious is a quirky middle grade mystery sure to appeal to its tween audience with its somewhat unusual sense of humor. The main premise is that hundreds of rubber duckies have appeared in a neighbor’s backyard over night, but the police do not seem too interested. So Paul and his friends Peephole and Shanks set off to solve the case, which they suspect may be related to their town’s annual bratwurst cooking competition. Along they way, they uncover a number of suspects, including a dancing tuba player, the chief judge of the bratwurst competition, and a shady deliveryman. The duckies are weird all right, but so is the town. Still, Paul and his friends love their community and readers may just fall in love, too.
At times, Finally, Something Mysterious admittedly tries just a little too hard to be quirky. Paul’s sense of humor is not one I share, and having him as the narrator at times made the story less enjoyable for me than it otherwise might have been. However, I recognize that I am not the target audience of this book. It is written for a middle grade audience, probably specifically tween boys, and Paul’s jokes will probably land more successfully with other readers. Ones who enjoy this kind of fare and actively seek it out will not doubt be pleased.
The mystery, at least, proves engaging, as the protagonists keep uncovering more suspects, each one who seems pretty likely to have done the deed. Meeting the suspects, many of whom seem a little unusual, was vastly entertaining. I did guess the culprit early on in the hbook, but I suspect this is because I am a more seasoned reader of mysteries. Middle grade readers who have not yet been exposed to a number of mystery formulas may very well be surprised by the twist ending.
Finally, Something Mysterious will appeal primarily to readers who like quirky middle grade mysteries. It has a wacky premise, a host of odd characters, and a narrator who loves to crack jokes. The quirkiness does at times seem a little forced, but tween readers will probably not mind very much. It is a solid, if not memorable, read.