Elizabeth Varadan | The Children’s Book Review | September 14, 2015
Written by J. E. Thompson
Age Range: 8-12
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Walden Pond Press; Reprint edition (September 2, 2014)
What to Expect: A fast-paced mystery, an intricate plot (spooky at times), richly drawn, unforgettable characters and cross-cultural friendships.
When twelve-year-old Abby Force found her attorney father unconscious, he was surrounded by jewelry taken from a secret hiding place in his library ceiling. Some pieces belonged to his elderly client, Mrs. Jenkins. Helpless from a stroke, Mrs. Jenkins can only manage one word, “Stole”. Everyone thinks Abby’s father is a criminal. In a coma, he can’t defend himself, but Abby determines to clear his name.
Reward Plantation on Leadenwah Island, South Carolina (fictional) is a perfect setting for this mystery. Felony Bay, full of legend (and alligators), is a hidden bay off Leadenwah River. The plantation belonged to Abby’s father before his coma, but has been sold to pay the cost of Mrs. Jenkins’ stolen jewelry. Abby, now living with boorish Uncle Charlie, has been given the job of cleaning out the stable at Reward Plantation. While grooming her former pony, Abby meets the new owner’s granddaughter, an African American girl named Bee Force. Bee is possibly a descendant of slaves owned by Abby’s ancestors who has present day heartaches of her own. The girls, kindred spirits, become immediate friends and are soon drawn into the mysterious happenings at Felony Bay.
An interesting and believable assortment of characters people this mystery: Wise, gutsy grandmothers. A bully out to get Abby. His father, the deputy, up to no good. Uncle Charlie, the family loser, who might have evil plans. Evasive lawyers. A wimpy reporter. And Abby and Bee are smart and engaging young sleuths that get in over their heads at one point. While full of asides that made me laugh, the story was suspenseful to the last.
“She raised her eyebrows and gave me a look. I gave her a look right back, and she finally picked up the phone and dialed an extension. “A young lady is here with information about some place called Reward Plantation,” she said to whoever answered.”
This book will appeal to middle grade readers who like mysteries with social issues and spunky protagonists who are sassy and funny.
About J. E. Thompson
J. E. Thompson is the author of The Girl from Felony Bay along with a number of books for adults. He lives in Charleston, South Carolina, not too far from the bays and plantations that inspire the Felony Bay Mysteries.
For more information, visit: booksbyjohnthompson.com
The Girl from Felony Bay, written by J. E. Thompson, was reviewed by Elizabeth Varadan. Discover more books like The Girl from Felony Bay by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Middle Grade Books, Mystery, and Spooky Books.