Monday, February 22, 2010

Minerva Clark Gives up the Ghost

Minerva Clark, teenage sleuth, is back in her third mystery. In the opening book of the series, Minerva Clark Gets a Clue, our heroine suffers an accident that leaves her brain a bit changed. Now, unlike every other teen (and probably grownup) on the planet, Minerva actually is quite satisfied with herself exactly the way she is. No longer obsessing on her appearance, or on what others might be thinking about her, is incredibly freeing. So much so that she finds a lot of brain power left over for solving a few mysteries here and there.

Unfortunately, even her supreme confidence isn't much help when her mother returns from the Southwest, after having dropped out of Minerva's life when she decided to run off with her yoga teacher. Now she's married to him, and while Minerva secretly thinks he's actually not so bad - and occasionally wonders how on earth he puts up with her mother - she's not exactly thrilled to have her mother around, telling her what to do (i.e. stop wearing her beloved high-top sneakers and to do something with her frizzy hair). When she is contacted by a strange but charismatic teenager asking her to help him solve the mystery of who burned down his parents' grocery store, Minerva is intrigued. Then her mother tells her she should stop poking her nose into other people's business, that it's dangerous and she could get hurt. After that, Minerva finds the mystery to be irresistible.

Minerva learns a lot about secrets in this book, things she'd never really thought much about before. The young man who appeals to her for help continually forces her to revise her assumptions about him. It is Minerva herself, though, her way of seeing things - and describing them - not to mention her sense of humor and feisty attitude, that has me loving these books. She is smart, and she has that added benefit of immense self-confidence, but she is inexperienced and still has a lot to learn. This mystery explores the darker side of human nature, and as Miranda learns more about the kind of disturbed person who sets fires that put others in danger, she finds herself gaining insight about the other people around her, too. I am very much looking forward to the next book in this series, but this is the most recent one, even though it was published three years ago. I do hope there will be a new one soon!

Books in the Minerva Clark series:
1. Minerva Clark Gets a Clue
2. Minerva Clark Goes to the Dogs
3. Minerva Clark Gives up the Ghost

Minerva Clark Gives up the Ghost (#3 in the Minerva Clark series) by Karen Karbo (Bloomsbury, 2007)

Also reviewed at:
Bookshelves of Doom: "Just... awesome. Fans of Sammy Keyes will want to check this out."


  1. Sounds like there's a lot going on in these novels. I'm going to have to borrow the first one after The Girl finishes it.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  2. Anna - I'll be interested to hear what you think of them! The books are a lot of fun - I love her relationship with all her big brothers.


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