Botanic Hill Detectives Mystery Book 1 by Sherrill Joseph
Published on: January 10, 2020
A story where the kids get to be the investigators and have formed: The Botanic Hill Detective Agency. In this new series four best friends love solving mysteries together and learn a little about Egyptian history and reptiles.
Kids, get ready to meet your new heroes! In Book 1 of the Botanic Hill Detectives Mysteries series, four modern-day teen sleuths take on ancient Egypt and those intent on stopping their investigation. . . . World-famous Egyptologist Dr. Winston Thornsley died suddenly two months ago in disgrace. His widow, Ida Thornsley, remains convinced her husband was falsely accused of stealing an ancient burial urn he discovered in Egypt last summer, but local and federal law enforcement officers are stumped. Mrs. Thornsley, desperate for answers, calls in her thirteen-year-old neighbors, the Botanic Hill Detectives—twins Lanny and Lexi Wyatt, Moki Kalani, and Rani Kumar. Their exciting mission? To find the urn and its real thief, bring the criminal to justice, and exonerate Dr. Thornsley so his spotless reputation can be restored. A roomful of venomous snakes, the poisoned Egyptian pond, and Dragon Pit Man are just a few of the tests awaiting the four tech-savvy teenagers. As the detectives begin to unravel the sinister plot, the mystery takes a dangerous turn. Answers are at their fingertips—if they can only convince their parents to let them solve the case.
In the town of Las Palmitas are four friends who are well-known for solving mysteries. As the book opens we find Lanny, Lexi, Rani, and Moki at the home of Dr. Thornsley a famous Egyptologist who recently died. His widow, “Mrs. T.” as the kids affectionately call her, want the kids to investigate a missing urn. This isn’t just any urn – it was one found in Egypt containing a mummified Egyptian cobra. Over the last several months, Mrs. T tells the kids that odd things have been occurring – mysterious phone calls, a missing picture, and a break in. But what is most important to Mrs. T is to clear her husband’s good name. He was the last one to be seen with the ancient urn and there are many who believe he had something to do with its disappearance.
The four kids have a lot of fun working together and are a pretty cohesive group during their investigation. Lanny and Lexi are twins, with Lanny being the group leader and always knowing how to get down to business. Moki is from Hawaii and shares a lot of Hawaiian words with readers and Rani is from India and is a synesthete – someone who experiences a taste or smell when hearing a word or name.
Other fun facts kids will learn are:
- Hawaii has no snakes. (I had to look this one up to see how true it is)
- Van Gogh had synesthesia
- Egyptians had a cobra goddess named Wadjet
- Komodo dragons have venom sacs in their mouth
- At the end of the book is a Hawaiian dictionary with pronunciation guide and definitions of the words used during the story.
Overall, the Nutmeg Street reminded me a little of Encyclopedia Brown in the way the kids went about solving the case, but in the Acknowledgement section the author mentions how she was inspired by Nancy Drew. Even though I enjoyed its enthusiasm and tone of the book, I did find the beginning a bit awkward in how the detective agency was introduced. The mystery starts with the kids already gathered at the house of Mrs. T and it makes you feel as if you are stepping into a story that has already started. But the four main characters have a lot going for them and I think young readers will really appreciate their energy and way they approach the mystery.
- US Only: One signed paperback copy of Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets
- One bookmark
- One sticker
- One refrigerator magnet
Winner’s choice of either the standing Egyptian goddess Bastet statue or, the reclining Egyptian god Anubis statue
International Only: One eBook copy of Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets
About the Author:
Sherrill Joseph’s debut novel, Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets, had been inside her head for decades. The mystery genre took hold of her as a fifth grader when she discovered Nancy Drew and Phyllis A. Whitney mysteries. Years later, it still hasn’t let go.
After graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a master’s in education, Sherrill spent the next thirty-five years as a K-12 literacy teacher. When she retired from teaching in 2013, the Botanic Hill Detectives and their mysteries finally sprang to life.
Forever inspired by her beautiful students in the San Diego public schools, the author has peopled and themed the Botanic Hill Detectives mysteries with children of various abilities, cultures, and interests. She strongly believes that embracing diversity is the key to a better world.
Sherrill is a native San Diegan where she lives in a ninety-year-old house in a historic neighborhood with her bichon frisé-poodle mix, Jimmy Lambchop. In addition to her dog, the city of San Diego, reading and writing, the author loves her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. She must also include dark chocolate, popcorn, old movies, staircases, the color purple, and daisies. She is a member of SCBWI and the Authors’ Guild and promises many more adventures with the squad to come.
Sherrill Joseph: http://sherrilljoseph.com/
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