Monday, December 2, 2019

Reviews from the Children's Section - Mystery in the Mansion

One of my favorite genres and one that is the easiest for me to push aside is middle grade fiction. This year to make sure I get a little more children's and young adult fiction I thought I would designate the first Monday of every month Middle Grade Monday (though sometimes it doesn't end up working quite right) .  While a lot of my picks this year are classics I am trying to branch out a little bit and read new or at least recent releases.  This was kind of a random library pick.  I loved the look of the book but somehow I missed it was a choose your own adventure style book until we actually started reading it.

Mystery in the Mansion (Case Closed #1) by Lauren Magaziner

Blurb: Carlos Serrano has never solved a mystery in his life. And he’s counting on you to solve his first one.
On the morning of a big investigation that would save her failing detective agency, Carlos’s mom gets sick with a nasty flu. But Las Pistas Detective Agency can’t afford to lose this case, or they will close down for sure. That’s where Carlos—and you—come in.

With the help of his best friend Eliza and her wild little brother Frank, Carlos takes over the investigation. The mystery involves an eccentric local millionaire, who starts receiving death threats. It appears someone wants to get their hands on a buried fortune. However, their search for the culprit is complicated by tricky riddles, cagey suspects, hidden secrets, and dozens of impossible choices. They need your help!

In this hilarious, interactive, and puzzle-filled adventure, YOU pick which suspects to interview, which questions to ask, and which clues to follow. Can you help Carlos and his friends figure out who’s sending the death threats, find a lost treasure, and save Las Pistas Detective Agency? Or will it be case closed? You pick the path, you crack the case!

My Thoughts:  This was our November read aloud book for me and my 9 year old.  I loved the title and scooped it up at the library after just barely looking at the blurb.  And then I discovered it was a Pick Your Path book.  I'll be honest - I'm not a fan of the choose your own adventure style book.  When I was a kid I loved the idea of them but I always died pretty quickly, the story wasn't really developed and I tended to get kind of bored with them eventually.  So when I realized that was what this was I was a little nervous but we loved it!  What really helped was that the story was so much more developed.  There was almost a full chapter where we got to know Carlos, Eliza, and Frank and each decision gave you at least a page or so of content.  And the content was fantastic.  There were some laugh out loud funny bits, some suspense (but not to intense) and enough meat of a story to really give you something to debate before you made the decisions.  There were even a few decisions that required some puzzle solving and code breaking which was really fun.  I will admit we cheated a few times to make sure we didn't make the wrong decision but it added to the fun a bit because we were able to discuss just what made that decision the wrong or right one.  The first thing we did when we finished this book (and it took awhile - this is a fairly substantial book!) was check to see if there were any more in the series so I call that a win!

I think this would be great for ages 8 and up and even a little earlier if it's a read aloud.  This was a lot of fun and I'm already looking forward to getting the next book.


  1. Ooh this looks fun, and glad the Pick a PAth element was done well. :)

  2. I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was a kid so this one really does appeal to me. I am so glad it worked for you!