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Finally, Something Mysterious
Cover of Finally, Something Mysterious
Finally, Something Mysterious
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The best mysteries can only be solved with your best friends. The perfect summer read for fans of Stuart Gibbs.Paul Marconi has always thought that Bellwood was a strange town, but also a boring one....
The best mysteries can only be solved with your best friends. The perfect summer read for fans of Stuart Gibbs.Paul Marconi has always thought that Bellwood was a strange town, but also a boring one....
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Description-

  • The best mysteries can only be solved with your best friends. The perfect summer read for fans of Stuart Gibbs.
    Paul Marconi has always thought that Bellwood was a strange town, but also a boring one. Not much for an eleven-year-old to do. Fires are burning nearby, Paul's parents are obsessed with winning a bratwurst contest, and his best friend, one of the founding members of their only-child detective club, the One and Onlys, is about to acquire a younger sister, sort of undoing their whole reason for existing. But then! Hundreds of rubber duckies have appeared on the lawn of poor Mr. Babbage without any explanation. Finally! There is something that Paul and his friends can actually investigate.
    In the face of all these bizarre occurrences, Paul is convinced that uncovering who deposited the duckies will finally bring some sense to what has become an upside-down world. Soon the three friends have a long list of suspects, all with their own motives, but no clear culprit. When everything comes to a head at the town's annual Bellwood Bratwurst Bonanza, Paul discovers that some things don't have an easy explanation and not every mystery can be solved.
    A perfect summer story about friends, amateur sleuthing, and a whole lot of rubber duckies.
    “The perfect mix of hilarious and heartwarming—kids won’t be able to get enough of Paul and his friends’ Bellwood adventures.”—Elsie Chapman, author of All the Ways Home
    "Delightful fun for budding mystery fans."—Kirkus
    "A diverting mystery with clever misdirection that will keep readers guessing until the end."—The Bulletin
    "The quirkiness of the premise and the light, punny humor give the narrative its momentum."—Booklist
    "The One and Onlys seem primed to become a popular trio among readers who enjoy an old-fashioned whodunit."—Publishers Weekly

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    1

    The First Weird Thing

    The weirdness in Bellwood all began with the smoke in the air and the ducks in Mr. Babbage’s backyard. After they showed up, a lot of other weird things started happening. Mysteries, you could call them. Some of them were scratch-­your-­head-­and-­say-­hmm kind of weird, but a couple of them were big-­time weird. Stare-­up-­at-­the-­night-­sky-­and-­wonder-­about-­the-­meaning-­of-­life kind of weird. And-­hope-­that-­while-­I’m-­staring-­up-­there-­a-­bird-­does-­not-­poop-­on-­me-­cuz-­that-­would-­not-­be-­a-­good-­sign-­regarding-­the-­meaning-­of-­life. That kind of weird.

    The smoke was easy to explain: a wildfire was burning in a big state forest outside of town. When the wind shifted the wrong way, all of Bellwood smelled like a campfire. 

    The ducks in Babbage’s yard were a different story. They appeared one seemingly normal Tuesday morning, scattered all over the grass. There must have been hundreds of them, their little yellow tails poking into the air, each duck with the same creepy look on its face: eyes wide open and vacant, like empty garages; bill curved upward in a kind of lipsticked maniac smile. I could picture the moment Babbage discovered them: he looks out at his backyard as he drinks his morning coffee, then boom—­his mouth gapes open, his eyes go wonky, his coffee mug drops to the ground. Crash. Splash. Duckies? Duckies!

    These were rubber duckies—­the kind you take a bath with. Nobody could explain where they came from. None of his neighbors had ducks in their backyards. But Babbage’s yard? Overrun with ducks. A mystery.

    News spread quickly in Bellwood. A dog could barf up an action figure on one side of town, and before it was mopped up, people would be debating the finer points of canine digestion on the other side of town. I know because that actually happened. Don’t believe me? Ask my dog, Ronald. But that’s what you get for living in such a small, out-­of-­the-­way place. And so when rubber duckies invaded Babbage’s yard, everybody knew about it, and fast. By ten in the morning, the One and Onlys—­that’s my two best friends and me—­were racing our bikes up the cul-­de-­sacs of Bellwood, cutting through backyards, and trundling through woods, hoping to get there before the little ­visitors vanished.

    Shanks, Peephole, and I made the crosstown trek in exceptionally good time (apologies to Mrs. Hoover’s geraniums, may they RIP) and rolled up to a clump of stupefied Bellwoodians staring at the ducks with wary eyes. Mr. Babbage’s dog, a little white yappy thing, was bouncing around the yard, growling wildly at the ducks. Officer Portnoy, who had just visited our fifth-­grade classroom on the last day of school to remind us about proper bicycle safety, was talking to Mr. Babbage at the edge of the lawn. Portnoy held a duck inches from his face. It looked like they were having a staring contest. The duck was winning.

    “Okay, One and Onlys,” Shanks said. “Time to gather clues. Paul, you go snoop on Mr. Babbage and Officer Portnoy. See if you can overhear anything that might be useful. Peephole and I will get a closer look at these duckies.”

    I strolled over and stood behind Babbage and Officer Portnoy, trying to appear like a normal, nonsnooping kid.

    “Well, Mr. Baggage,” I heard...

About the Author-

  • Doug Cornett received his MFA from Portland State University and in 2016 was awarded first prize for the William Van Dyke Short Story Contest from Ruminate Magazine. Finally, Something Mysterious is his first novel. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his family. Follow him on Twitter at @MrDougCornett.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    January 15, 2020
    Only children, rejoice! A cozy mystery just for you! (People with siblings will probably enjoy it too.) Debut novelist Cornett introduces the One and Onlys, a trio of mystery-solving only kids: Gloria Longshanks "Shanks" Hill, Alexander "Peephole" Calloway, and narrator Paul (alas, no nickname) Marconi. The trio has a knack for finding and solving low-level mysteries, but they come up against a true head-scratcher when the yard of a resident of their small town is covered in rubber ducks overnight. Working ahead of Officer Portnoy, who's a little on the slow side, can Paul, Shanks, and Peephole solve the mystery? Cornett has a lot of fun with this adventure, dropping additional side mysteries, a subplot about small businesses, big corporations, and economics, and a town's love of bratwurst into the mix. Most importantly, he plays fair with the clues throughout, allowing astute readers to potentially solve the case ahead of the trio. The tone and mystery are perfect for younger readers who want to test their detective skills but are put off by anything scary or gory. The pacing would serve well for chapter-by-chapter read-alouds. If there are any quibbles, it's the lack of diversity of the cast, as it defaults white. Diversity exists in small towns, and this one is crying out for more. Hopefully a sequel will introduce additional faces. Delightful fun for budding mystery fans. (Mystery. 8-12)

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 9, 2020
    Paul Marconi, 11, loves to solve mysteries with his best friends, Shanks and Peephole, aka the “One and Onlys.” All only children, they are the perfect team of sleuths: level-headed Paul “sniffed out the mysteries,” fearless Shanks takes risks, and anxious Peephole’s photographic memory documents crime scenes. Their sleepy community is preparing for its annual bratwurst cook-off, despite a wildfire burning beyond the town. When hundreds of rubber duckies mysteriously appear on the front lawn of Mr. Babbage, five-time bratwurst champion, the One and Onlys want to know who put them there. But Officer Portnoy won’t let them near the evidence, Peephole is worried about the imminent birth of a sibling, and the whole town is preoccupied with the competition. Cornett caters nicely to his audience with amusing scenes—one suspect serenades the duckies with a tuba—and caricature, as with Portnoy, a classically clueless cop. The mystery slowly unspools with well-placed clues and red herrings, while subplots, such as the arrival of an ominous new megastore, lend depth to the lighthearted mystery. With the hint of more to come, the One and Onlys seem primed to become a popular trio among readers who enjoy an old-fashioned whodunit. Ages 8–12. Agent: Penelope Burns, Gelfman Schneider/ICM Partners.

  • School Library Journal

    April 1, 2020

    Gr 3-5-It's summer and Paul Marconi and his two best friends, making up the self-proclaimed, only-children detective club the One and Onlys, are thrilled to finally have a mystery to solve. Tons of rubber duckies have appeared in a neighbor's yard and no one knows where they came from. Lots of things are changing in the kids' lives-from impending big brotherhood (an end to the literal meaning of "One and Onlys") to a more adult understanding of a family business in trouble. These coming-of-age themes are woven through a zany plot set in a very whimsical small town, best known for the annual bratwurst cooking competition. The twists and turns may capture the attention of young readers, but the characters and setting are not illustrated in great depth. VERDICT Not a first purchase, but a good addition to collections where humorous middle grade mysteries are popular.-Gesse Stark-Smith, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR

    Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist "[A] feel-good middle-grade debut.... The quirkiness of the premise and the light, punny humor give the narrative its momentum."

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    Random House Children's Books
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