"I really need your help!" said the woman on the phone. "A note has been slipped into my purse. It says, Beware ... a dirty trick!" Max Monroe can't believe Rhonda Remington, his favorite author, is calling the Monroe Detective Agency looking for his help! It's hours before Rhonda competes for a spot in the Mystery Hall of Fame, and she's desperate to find out who wrote the note and what kind of dirty trick they're planning for her big night. Max is thrilled to take her case. He may be only ten years old, but he's a clever detective. And of course he has his partner, Uncle Larry, to help him. Well, as much as an uncle who's a ghost can help!
With funny dialogue and a cast of oddball characters, author L. M. Falcone (a former private investigator herself) continues to delight with this third title in her early chapter book series about a super-talented boy detective who solves cases with the ghost of his uncle Larry. Though having a ghost sidekick that no one else can see creates opportunities for hilarious misunderstandings and mayhem when Max and Uncle Larry are out in public, at its heart, this is a true whodunit. The slowly building storyline allows children to exercise their critical-thinking skills as Max gathers clues and draws up a list of suspects. And the segmented chapters, short sentences and line drawings throughout add to the appeal of this mystery series for newly independent readers.
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