Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Whodunnit Detective Agency: The Hotel Mystery

The Whodunnit Detective Agency: The Hotel Mystery

Martin Widmark
Illustrator:  Helena Willis 
Fiction  Series
For ages 7 to 9
Penguin, 2014   ISBN: 978-0448480668

It is the day before Christmas Eve in Pleasant Valley, which means that just about everyone in town is going to the town hotel to partake of the holiday buffet. One of the people who attends is Roland Sussman, who is the caretaker of a nearby church. He is surprised when he sees that Jerry is behind the reception desk. Jerry and his friend Maya have their own detective agency, and not long ago they found out who was stealing diamonds from the local jewelry store. Jerry and Maya are staying at the hotel while their parents vacation together, and both of the kids are helping out in the hotel.

   At four in the afternoon Jerry and Maya meet with Ronnie Hazelwood, the hotel manager, and his staff in his office. They talk about the plans for Christmas Eve, and then Ronnie tells them that the Braeburn family will be coming to stay for a while. They will be staying in the best suite, and all the staff members will have to do their best to make the Braeburns feel welcome. In particular, they have to make sure that the family dog, Winston, is happy.

   Everything goes well on Christmas Eve. The Braeburns arrive with their nasty, overweight dog; Santa (Ronnie) comes and gives presents to the children; and the evening meal is enjoyed by almost everyone. After dinner the Braeburns retire to their room, which is when they discover that Winston is missing. Jerry and Maya notice that after Winston disappears, all the staff members behave in a very suspicious manner: Ronnie has an injury on his hand, the normally grumpy Bert Anderson is looking happy, and Rita and Pierre (the chef and housekeeper) come out of the room right next to the one where the Braeburns are staying.

   Naturally, the Braeburns are furious and when Winston is not found they insist that the hotel manager must pay for their stay. Jerry and Maya know that Ronnie, Bert, Rita and Pierre are all desperately in need of money. Could one of them have stolen the extremely valuable dog? It is up to the two young detectives to find out the truth, and they are running out of time.

   In this second Whodunnit Detective Agency mystery, Jerry and Maya once again use their adept mystery solving brains to figure out a puzzling problem. Young readers will be tickled pink when they see how Jerry and Maya get to the bottom of the missing dog mystery.