Another fine mystery novel for young readers, this one is full of eccentric and flamboyant characters.
When Lucy Fayerweather’s father comes to take her away from summer camp early with a sad family story about why, Lucy knows he’s up to his usual tricks, and in this case taking her quickly before he has to pay anything. Sure enough, they’re soon with Lucy’s mother and her brother Bob, also pulled from his camp, and their baby sister Bitsy. Fabian Fayerweather’s new play has been canceled, Clara Fayerweather’s antique business has fallen apart, and the family is on the road fleeing from creditors, hoping to stay with Fabian’s sister Aunt Clara in the old family home in rural New England. She had been planning to marry her beau Eustace Wilkes, but he suddenly disappeared a few years ago. Lucy and Fabian’s brother Edward, who has some mental health issues, lives with her.
Aunt Lucy is delighted to welcome them, and the Fayerweathers soon settle in to country life, but Bob is on a private mission to find out what happened to the missing Eustace. Slowly he gathers clues while also enjoying the company of Edward, while Lucy finds friends in some neighbor girls. Another neighbor, Bradley Wilkes, the brother of Eustace, becomes the focus of tricks and torments from Bob and Edward, even while Bob begins to narrow down his search. Things come to a head when Edward blows up Bradley’s front porch, and Bradley makes plans to have him put in an asylum. Can Bob’s detective work save the day?
An excellent read full of warm hearts and sneaky con-artists as well as a cracking good mystery. Recommended.