Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

Three Times LuckyTupelo Landing, North Carolina is the setting for this middle grade mystery and a place I would love to visit especially to meet the characters in Three Times Lucky. This mystery is told in first person by “rising sixth grader” Moses LeBeau. Mo’s voice drips with Southern charm and humor from the first paragraph. Her voice is what kept me interested in the many mysteries in Tupelo Landing. Mo’s family is a mystery in itself.

The story starts with The Colonel being injured in a hurricane. He wakes up with amnesia and a baby girl who he names Moses since she was found floating down a flooded river. The Colonel and Mo soon find Miss Lana and their unique family unit is formed. However, Mo still longs to know who her “people” are and send letters in bottles to her “Upstream Mother” hoping to find out more about her origin. But in the mean time, she is happy to be living and working with The Colonel and Miss Lana in Tupelo Landing’s only café. As the only café, it is the heart of the town and Mo is treated to visits from many of the townspeople each day.

Things get really interesting in this story when one of the café regulars is found dead and a big-city detective arrives to investigate. Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, decide to start their own investigation and detective firm, Desperado Detectives, to solve the murder. This book touches on some serious issues, including alcoholism and spousal and child abuse which would make it a good start to a conversation about these issues, but does not get bogged down by them. It is at the heart, a mystery with a light tone and a lot of exciting rising action. I would recommend it for grades 5 and up.

Posted by: Kelly

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