Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books, 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Sheila Turnage has done it again, bringing us the precocious voice of young Mo Le'Beau, rising 6th grader and lead detective at Desperado Detective Agency. In The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, Mo and her best friend Dale have discovered another mystery to be solved, and this time it includes ghosts from the town's past. When Miss Lana and Grandmother Miss Lacy purchase the old abandoned inn, in an attempt to keep it out of the hands of people wanting to tear it down, they realize there is a lot of work left to do, and there's a ghost to deal with too. Mo and Dale set out to find the truth about this ghost and what she or he is doing there--and they're basing their entire history grade on an interview with the ghost, so they have to work quickly.
As in Three Times Lucky, the characters living in Tupelo Landing are vibrant and funny and loveable. Mo is meddling, curious, and inventive and everyone knows it. Although at times she says things that are off putting to others, they seem to love her. I do wonder how she gets away with some of the things she says and I was hoping a few times that some of the characters would put her in her place a bit more because she can be pretty rude towards adults. Dale is dealing with the consequences of their last solved crime: his daddy is in jail and his family is trying to move on. We're also introduced to a new character, Harm Crenshaw, new to town and incredibly intelligent. He's not happy to be stuck in Tupelo Landing and isn't afraid to let everyone know about it. All the side characters are just perfectly themselves as well. I love how well Sheila Turnage creates her characters and makes them come to life. I would definitely live in this town, as long as it was populated by these characters.
The story was interesting and Mo and Dale uncover clues along the way that reveal a little bit more of the mystery to us. I was rather surprised when the mystery was solved rather early. There were still some conflicts to be resolved, but I thought that at that point, the story lagged. Even though it wasn't that much left, I found myself easily distracted from the last four or five chapters because Mo and Dale were no longer worried about the ghost and it felt like much of the end was almost a parade of the characters to see how happy they were now. Up until then (it started around the final scenes at the big bash) I was plowing through the story, but the big bash didn't seem very important anymore, unless there was something else to solve with the ghost.
Overall, I'm excited to read another Mo LeBeau story. Will there be one? I'm hoping so! Check out The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing after you've read Three Times Lucky and enjoy getting to know Mo and her best friend Dale and the entire cast of characters in Tupelo Landing.
Image Source: Goodreads
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