Monday, April 14, 2014

Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things - Cynthia Voigt

Title: Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things
Author: Cynthia Voigt
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013 (Hardcover)
Length: 367 pages
Genre: Children's Mystery
Started: April 11, 2014
Finished: April 14, 2014

From the inside cover:

Who is Mister Max? That boy on the squeaky old bicycle. The one with eyes so strange you have to look twice.

Is he an artist or an actor? A student? A spy? Is he a rather surly gardener, or an over-ambitious dog catcher? Some say he's a harried city official. Others say he's just a little kid who's lost his parents. Perhaps he is all of these things - or none of them.

One thing is certain: he is a master of disguise. And nobody - nobody - can solve a mystery like Mister Max.

From Newbery Medalist Cynthia Voigt comes a quirky whodunit with a "detective" like no other.

This looked like a quirky little read, so I decided to give it a go. Twelve-year-old Max's parents are actors and own a theatre in a British Victorian-era town. When the family receives an invite from the Maharajah of Kashmir to start-up a theatre company in India, Max's parents jump at the chance. When the day to board the ship comes, Max arrives at the docks separately from his parents to find them gone; and worst of all, that the ship they were supposed to sail on doesn't even exist, let alone the person known at the Maharajah of Kashmir.

So Max strives to survive by himself in his parents' absence, but thankfully he has his grandmother who lives in the house behind his, so he has a back-up plan. But he needs to be self-sufficient, thus he needs a job. He quickly becomes what is later coined a solutioneer, a jack of all trades detective who, thanks to his parents' large collection of costumes and his own experience acting in the theatre, can fit himself into any role and any scenario. All these little cases come together in an over-arching larger mystery, in addition to the search for his parents.

A quirky read for middle-grade mystery lovers.

Thoughts on the cover:
I like the old-style illustrations here, and the red/yellow/dark green colour scheme is pleasing as well.

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