Dink writes to his favorite author, mystery writer Wallis Wallace, and invites him to visit Green Lawn. To Dink’s amazement, Wallace says he’ll come! But when the big day arrives, Wallace is nowhere to be found. The police think he just missed his plane, but Dink suspects foul play. It’s up to Dink and his two best friends, Josh and Ruth Rose, to find the famous writer–before it’s too late!
I have some hardcore nostalgia for the A to Z Mysteries series. I absolutely love these books; I think they might have been the first chapter books I ever read, and at the very least, they were certainly the ones that most endeared themselves to me.
As a child, the mysteries were suspenseful and satisfying; as a adult, the twist of The Absent Author is obviously much easier to see coming, but what really strikes me as so endearing is the setting. Green Lawn is a wonderfully quaint, close-knit community with a distinct 1950’s vibe. It’s a town in which everyone knows each other by name and children can roam free without fear of falling victim to any of the real worlds dangers.
I also definitely appreciate the interaction between the child and adult characters. The main cast’s parents are only mentioned in passing in The Absent Author, but Ron Roy introduces the reader to three of the frequent supporting characters: Wallis Wallace, Dink’s favorite author (who, as you can imagine, is the focus of the plot); Ellie, who owns and works in the town diner; and Mr. Linkletter, the stuffy manager of the Shangri La hotel. Each of these adults is competent, helpful, and respectful to the children, all of which are unfortunately rare traits in children’s media. It definitely adds an extra degree of charm to the story.
Ultimately, The Absent Author offers a fun mystery to young readers, and I highly recommend the series to anyone with children ready to tackle chapter books.
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