- The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage
Readers first met Mo LoBeau and her somewhat reluctant sleuthing sidekick, Dale, in Three Times Lucky (BCCB 7/12), when they helped solve a murder in their beloved hometown of Tupelo Landing, NC, and founded the Desperado Detective Agency. Mo is now itching for a new case (Dale decidedly less so), and she finds it when Miss Lana and Grandmother Miss Lacy make the winning bid on the Old Tupelo Inn with all its fine print, which includes, of all things, acknowledgment of a ghost on the premises. As Dale’s brother and Mo’s heartthrob, Lavender, strives to renovate the old inn in time for the community’s 250th birthday celebration, strange things happen, making it hard for him to keep laborers. Could it be the ghost, or is someone else trying to sabotage the renovations? And whoever is responsible, what are their motives? Mo’s spritely narration alternates between pithy, wise remarks and wide-eyed misdirections as she attempts to uncover the truth, outwit and outdo the annoying Attila Celeste, keep Dale from chickening out on the investigation, and figure out how to deal with Harm, the new boy who could turn out to be either friend or foe. With less real danger here than in the first book, some Scooby Doo twists, and a bona fide ghost, this is sure to please both fans and readers new to Mo, who remains as quotable as she is lovable. Gems like “The problem with having a temper is you find out what you’re going to say at the exact same minute everybody else does” guarantee head-nodding identification with the obstreperous heroine; we certainly hope there is more to come from the Desperado Detectives.