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Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Moustache Mary

Review

Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Moustache Mary

Sammy (short for Samantha), the spunky and very curious seventh grader who has a knack for solving mysteries is back in her fifth whodunit adventure. New Year's Eve is approaching and since Sammy's grandmother (and caretaker) is going to visit Sammy's mother in Hollywood, Sammy gets the chance to spend the long holiday weekend with her friends Marissa, Holly, and Dot at Dot's new house in the country. Ringing in the new year would be exciting enough, but in no time at all, Sammy's up to her high-tops in pigs, eccentric old ladies, 155-year-old family feuds, hidden gold, and females wearing moustaches.

It all begins when Sammy and her friends meet a little old lady walking down the road with her pet pig. She's Lucinda Huntley. And she's got quite a story to tell.

It seems the Huntleys and another family, the Murdochs, have been feuding for 155 years, ever since widowed Moustache Mary Huntley journeyed across the country with her young son in the same wagon train with Lewis K. Murdoch. Moustache Mary disguised herself as a man; it was Lewis K. who revealed her deception to everybody in the wagon train. Then Moustache Mary shot Lewis K. for trying to steal her food. But Sammy learns that maybe he wasn't trying to steal food at all. Moustache Mary had a bag of gold that she kept hidden. And it's been hidden ever since. Lucinda Huntley has looked all over for it, because she could really use it, but nobody can figure out the riddle Mary wrote down in her diary about where she hid it.

Well, the same day that Sammy meets Lucinda and her pig, Penny, Moustache Mary's old cabin burns to the ground. Lucinda suspects the Murdochs, of course. The police agree that the fire was set deliberately, but they think it's just pranksters on New Year's Eve. Sammy likes Lucinda, and she thinks things are suspicious. Lucinda's nephew Kevin wants her to sell their land. It's awfully convenient to him that the cabin burned down, because Lucinda would never have sold out while it still stood.

Sammy brings information to helpful Officer Borsch and they work together to solve this mystery, but the crimes keep piling up. When Sammy and her friends finally find out who's responsible for all the trouble, they might not live to tell the tale.

Making things tougher, Sammy's old nemesis Heather Acosta is still around to bug her. And in this book, Sammy finds out that Heather has a brother, even worse news. Will Sammy come through as a super sleuth? Or will the new year be a dud? Find out in this fast-paced mystery.

Reviewed by Tamara Penny on February 13, 2001

Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Moustache Mary
(Sammy Keyes #5)
by Wendelin Van Draanen

  • Publication Date: February 13, 2001
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling
  • ISBN-10: 0440416434
  • ISBN-13: 9780440416432