Review Detail

Kids Fiction 1061
Mystery, divorce, and civil rights
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Candice's grandmother was a city official in the small town of Lambert before she fell into disrepute. She thought there was treasure buried under the tennis courts and had them dug up. When no treasure appeared, she was relieved of her duties. Candice and her mother are spending the summer cleaning out her grandmother's house after her death, and Candice has some letters that indicate there is still a treasure out there. It's a rough summer-- her parents are separated, and her home in the city is being readied to sell, and there's no one to hang out with in Lambert while her mother is working on her book. Luckily, she finds bookish Brandon, and the two bond. She eventually shares the secret of her grandmother's letters with him, and the two follow the very detailed clues, learning a lot about the racial history of the town in the process. Will they finally find the treasure for which her grandmother was searching?
Good Points
This offers an excellent view of what life was like in the 1950s for blacks in the South, and it was good to see this through the eyes of modern children. Candice's life has some challenges, since she misses her grandmother and her parents' separation has a bit of a twist to it, but her parents are supportive and present, and the mood is generally upbeat. The clues they follow are interesting, and the mystery itself is deliciously convoluted.

There were a lot of elements to the story, so there is something to keep everyone interested. I thought that the handling of the parents' divorce and Candice's feelings about not seeing one parent or the other was quite realistic and well done. I did sort of wish the grandmother were there to help with the mystery but not give too much away.

This was similar to Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry by Susan Vaught. The investigative process was similar, it involved civil rights, but the end of the mysteries were different, but The Parker Inheritance is a great book to hand to a reader who enjoyed that, or who has avidly gone through Draper's Stella by Starlight, Kidd's Night on Fire, or McKissack's A Friendship for Today.
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