Lantern Sam and the Blue Streak Bandits by Michael D. Beil

lantern SamLynn:  What is Michael Beil’s newest mystery all about?  A talking cat, 2 observant kids, a train, a kidnapping, jewel heist and the world’s fastest roller coaster!  So what else do I need to tell you to get you to pick up Lantern Sam and the Blue Streak Bandits (Random/Knopf 2014)?

This fun mystery is set in 1938.  Henry Shipley and his mother and sister are heading home to Ashtabula after a trip to New York City on family business.  Henry’s is proud of his father who is a ship’s captain and looking forward to see him when his ship docks.  On board the famous express train, the Shoreliner, he meets Clarence the conductor and his traveling companion, Lantern Sam (who just happens to be one of the world’s greatest detectives).  He also meets 10-year-old Ellie Strasbourg, heiress.  Ellie talks as fast as the express train they ride and maybe she’s just a bit TOO observant because she disappears after telling Henry that she spotted two criminals boarding the train.

mystery-month-2014Where can she be?  The train hasn’t stopped.   Henry and Lantern Sam know Ellie is in danger and time is running out to solve the mystery.  Interspersed between the mystery are sections of Lantern Sam’s autobiography and Sam has as high  an opinion of himself as he does of Sail On brand of sardines.

Fast-paced and funny, Beil laces the story with great characters, action and plenty of 30’s slang.  Who could resist a chase scene on the world’s fastest roller coaster?  I loved Beil’s earlier mystery series about The Red Blazer Girls and here’s hoping there will be more cases for Lantern Sam and Henry to solve.  Readers will lap this up!




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.

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