Chilled to the Bones

Linda Lee
Young Adult

MYSTERY:  After her mother is killed in a car accident, Dealer finds a mysterious old trunk in her attic while sorting through memories.  Among all the intriguing papers, she discovers a locket with the picture of a couple she supposes are her ancestors, as well as coded letters dating back to the Revolutionary War.  Dealer decides to uncover the meaning of those papers and enlists the help of friends.  It doesn’t take long, however, before all realize they may have stumbled into something much more dangerous and a lot more deadly!


Why is the creepy Mr. Simcoe always nearby, and why does her teacher, Ms. Arnold, seem to hate them?  Suddenly, one of Dealer’s friends is found dead, another person missing and the strange underlings start to mount!   Can a group of teenagers really uncover the secrets of the Culper Spy Ring before it’s too late for their town and for them?  


This is a fun, sweet mystery that incorporates real revolutionary history and mystery flawlessly into a great whodunit!  It does seem more compatible to the middle school-age reader than to Young Adult, however. The writing style is simple and the characters are portrayed as one would expect a 12 or 13 year-old rather than an older teenager. This makes it hard to justify many of the actions and plot points presented. There were also some anachronistic questions and the paranormal aspect didn’t quite fit or make sense. Still, the factual history was intriguing and younger readers will assuredly delight in the characters' search for answers!


Ruth Lynn Ritter