Book Review: “Mr. Samuel’s Penny” by Treva Hall Melvin

November 12, 2014 at 12:32 am | Posted in Books | 1 Comment
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Treva Hall Melvin in her new book, “sams penny book coverMr. Samuel’s Penny” Book One in the Elizabeth Parrot Landers Mysteries  series published by Poisoned Pen Press introduces us to Elizabeth Parrot Landers.

From the back cover:   It’s 1972 and fourteen-year-old New Yorker Elizabeth Landers is sent to the sleepy town of Ahoskie, North Carolina to spend the summer with relatives. Her expectation of boredom is quickly dispelled when police sirens and flashing lights draw her to a horrible scene at the Danbury Bridge. Mr. Samuel, owner of Samuel’s Lumber Yard, has driven his car off the bridge and into the river, drowning himself and his daughter. The medical examiner thinks it’s an accident, but the Sheriff finds fresh bullet holes on the bridge right where the skid marks are. Curiously, Mr. Samuel died clutching a unique 1909 wheat penny—a penny that is then stolen from the Sheriff’s office. Lizbeth witnesses Miss Violet’s grief upon learning that her husband and child are dead, and decides she will help by finding the penny.

Her search involves Lizbeth in the lives of many Ahoskie residents. Like the owner of the grocery store, mean old Mr. Jake, who—as all the kids in Ahoskie know—hates black folks. Plenty of pennies in his till. Then there is Ms. Melanie Neely, otherwise known as “Ms. McMeanie,” who thinks the lumber yard should belong to her. And Mr. Samuel’s handsome brother Ben, who struggles to keep the business afloat after his more clever brother’s death. Lizbeth searches through the collection plates at church and in the coin jars of crazy old Aunt Ode, a strange old woman missing one eye and most of her teeth, who keeps a flask in her apron pocket and a secret in her soul.

Nancy Drew has come a long way since she solved mysteries. Now she needs to make way for her successor, fourteen year old Elizabeth Parrot Landers. Ms. Melvin has packed so much story into Lizbeth’s first mystery and that is not really the highlight of the case. Yes, there is a murder. Yes, there is the business with the penny. What really captures your interest are all the supporting players. For the summer Lizbeth is a transplanted New Yorker in North Carolina. North and South, things are definitely different there.  “Mr. Samuel’s Penny” is loaded with twists and turns and red herrings that will leave you guessing all the while you are flipping pages to find out what happens next. Ms. Melvin has provided us with a clever young heroine inside a fairly exciting book.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Partners In Crime.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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1 Comment »

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  1. Thanks for sharing your review with us. Sounds like this book is a good character study within the context of a YA mystery.


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