Three Times Lucky

17 Sep

Miss Moses LoBeau, rising sixth grader, lives in Tupelo Landing NC (population: 148) with the Colonel and Miss Lana, owner and hostess of the local cafe. Like her namesake, Mo was separated from her mother as a baby and sent downstream during a hurricane. Mo hopes to someday solve the mystery of just who her “upstream mother” is, but this summer she has another mystery to solve: a murder mystery. When a lawman comes to town on a murder investigation, and a local man turns up dead in his boat, the same boat that her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, “borrowed” from the now dead man just a few days earlier, Mo LoBeau throws her detective hat on and sets out to uncover the truth.

I rarely read middle grade fiction, but when I received this audiobook in the mail and saw that it was read by the late Michal Friedman, I knew it was time to put the YA on hold and try something for the younger crowd. Friedman was a fabulous vocal talent – one of those performers who portrayed child characters so well that it was hard to believe an adult was reading to you. Just as she did with little Max in Emma Donoghue’s Room, Friedman brings Mo to life in the best possible of ways. Mo LoBeau is absolutely charming as a narrator and not just because of Friedman’s performance, though that certainly helps. In this impressive debut, Sheila Turnage creates a highly memorable, and enjoyable, protagonist who is loyal, courageous, smart, sassy, and resourceful. She and her friend Dale are an adorable duo, especially when they begin work together (though Mo is certainly in charge) as the Desperado Detectives. While overall, this book is very light in feel, there are moments of seriousness, from Mo’s letters to her “upstream mother” to Dale’s abusive father to the kidnapping of a loved one. The mystery element is exciting and surprising at times, but what really carried me through was Mo LoBeau and Turnage’s fun, often quirky, dialogue.

Em’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Author: Sheila Turnage
Reader: Michal Friedman
Publishers:Penguin Audio (August 2012)
Note: Review copy received from publisher for honest review

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