Last month, I linked to a post on theroommom blog That Book Sounds Familiar. She paired up Nancy Drew novels with a new series called The Red Blazer Girls by Michael D. Beil. I promised a review when I finished the first book in the series, The Ring of Rocamadour.
The Red Blazer Girls are four seventh grade students at St. Veronica’s School in Manhattan. Sophie, the narrator and her three friends, Margaret, Rebecca and Leigh Ann are smart girls who like a challenge. The challenge appears in the form of a scavenger hunt found in a twenty year old letter by a woman who found a birthday letter from her father to her then 14 year old daughter. Her father died before he could deliver the letter. The grandfather, an archeologist, created an elaborate puzzle for his granddaughter to follow to find her birthday present.
The first clue is in the school library tucked into book, but first they have to figure out which book. The title and author’s name were in an anagram in the grandfather’s letter. To help them, they recruited their English teacher, Mr. Elliot. When they find the first clue they also find a note that will lead them to the second clue. Once they solve the anagram, they discover the book is The School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. It is no longer in the library but in storage. With Mr. Elliot’s help, they find the book and the second letter. The puzzle has two equations, each numeral in the equation corresponds to a clue. The solution to the two equations is the location of the present. Most of the clues are in or on St Veronica’s Church which is located next to the school. He tells his granddaughter she will need her knowledge of religion, classical languages, mathematics, literature, philosophy and art to solve the puzzle.
The Red Blazer Girls do need to use all of this knowledge to solve the puzzle. Along the way they initially mistake a friend as a foe and find that an adult who they thought was their ally, was not. In the end, a family that was fractured is reunited with their help.
As a young girl, I was a huge fan of Nancy Drew, she was smart, she had a roadster and she held out the promise of an interesting life. This series is every bit as interesting and you get a chance to solve some of the clues on your own.
The AR reading level is 4.4.
The Sonoma County Library has many copies.