THE MAZE OF BONES, Book One in the 39 Clues series; Rick Riordan; New York: Scholastic, 2008. 220 fast-moving pages. Fiction
The 39 Clues series (inevitable echoes of John Buchan/Alfred Hitchcock's classic "The 39 Steps arise) should be yet another cash cow for Scholastic books. Going beyond the books themselves (by Rick Riordan, Gordon Korman, and Peter Lerangis, respectively), there are clue cards for sale, an Internet link, and a grand prizes amounting to 100 grand or so. Fortunately, it's a quality product they are selling. Rick Riordan's first book is a slam bang adventure featuring Amy and Dan Cahill, a brother and sister team who compete against teams of unsavory relatives to find the Cahill treasure described in their grandmother's will. Their parents are long-gone in a car crash, so the kids are on their own except for their au pair, Nellie, who accompanies to provide the appearance of adult supervision as they chase a clue from Poor Richard's Almanac which leads them eventually to the catacombs of Paris. The puzzle is hard enough, but when you mix in the other teams trying to follow them and then do them in, you have a high-octane read for young (and especially reluctant) readers. Well done! I am looking forward to the next one.