Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

Lynn: Eleven-year-old Moses LoBeau already has all the mysteries she can handle when “trouble cruised into Tupelo Landing, at exactly seven minutes past noon…”  Mo yearns to find her “Upstream Mother,” the mother who tied her to a billboard during a hurricane to save her life.  And then there’s the Colonel who found Mo floating in the flooded debris after he crashed his car in the storm.  The Colonel lost his memory in the crash and cannot remember his life before arriving in Tupelo Landing.  Now Mo lives with the Colonel and Miss Lana and helps them run the best – and only – Cafe in Tupelo Landing, a town of 148 people.   Mo spends her spare time composing messages to her Upstream Mother in bottles that helpful neighbors drop in area streams as they go by, and spending time with her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III.  When Jesse Tatum, a thoroughly unpleasant old coot of a neighbor, is found dead, Mo and Dale set out to solve the case that brings danger to the people Mo loves and opens surprising doors to the past.

I  loved this quirky book right from the start.   The mysteries are all intriguing and propel the plot with a quickening pace to a terrifically exciting finale in the midst of a hurricane.  But it was the endearing menu of eccentric characters I really fell for.  From Mo, who lacks neither confidence nor ingenuity to her arch-enemy Attila Simpson to the Azalea Women, the entire town of Tupelo Landing felt like people I knew and loved.  Turnage nails the essence of a small town where everyone knows everyone’s business and everyone is free with both advice and assistance.  Mo’s brash assurance and fiery temper conceals a touching vulnerability that goes right to the heart.  Suspenseful and exciting, well-plotted and funny (oh those menus!),  this one is a winner.  Here’s hoping there are more cases ahead for the Desperado Detectives.






About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

2 Comments on "Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage"

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  1.' Stacy says:

    I love, love, love this book. It’s a heart-song read with chops!

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