Balliett, Blue. Pieces and Players. Scholastic. 2015. $17.99. 306p. 978-0-545-29990-9. Ages 9-12. P8Q8
The three intrepid mystery solvers of earlier art-based books in the series reluctantly accept two more sleuths to their group from earlier Balliett books as they try to solve the disappearance of 13 valuable pieces of art. Though set in Chicago, the case is based on the unsolved robbery of artwork from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990, and the map of Chicago streets where the characters travel add to the book’s clarity. The characters are extremely well-delineated, especially the 13-year-old ones in the team: each one has a very separate personality. Readers who love to follow clues and crack codes will enjoy the ones scattered throughout the novel, and booklovers who enjoy novels about relationships will take pleasure in the growing friendships through the book.
September 2015 review by Nel Ward.