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  • The Amelia Six: An Amelia Earhart Mystery by Kristin L. Gray
  • Elizabeth Bush

Gray, Kristin L. The Amelia Six: An Amelia Earhart Mystery. Wiseman/Simon, 2020 [272p] Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-5344-1885-1 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-5344-1887-5 $10.99 Reviewed from galleys Ad Gr. 3-6

A half dozen middle school girls "who asked hard questions, who were endlessly curious, and who brought a creative flair to math, engineering, and science" are selected by the Ninety-Nines organization of women pilots to spend a night in the childhood home of Amelia Earhart for a tour, a scavenger hunt, and dinner. The big night arrives in a snowstorm that shuts down much of Atchison, Kansas and, most importantly, sets the dark and stormy night scene for a mystery revolving around Earhart's flight goggles, which go missing. Amelia "Millie" Ashford, the last girl to see the goggles, narrates the evening's adventure, which escalates as their hostess, caretaker Birdie Anderson, is drugged, the landline is down, streets are impassible, cell phones are stowed away, girls are locked in the basement, and the adults in the house become prime suspects. Although the story is infused with plenty of Earhart trivia, the missing goggles never rise beyond a convenient MacGuffin, and Gray makes surprisingly little of the girls' STEM prowess. False leads (the food is so delicious, it can't be the chef) and red herrings (taxidermy is kind of creepy, so it might be Birdie's nephew) are too predictable to sustain the mystery interest, and the girls' interactions never spark the ensemble drama to life. There's a broad hint at a forthcoming adventure set in Antarctica that will probably showcase another of the girls, but readers who mined all they can from the Amelia Earhart theme will likely consider this one and done. An author note on Amelia Earhart is included. [End Page 475]



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