Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 4 to 7
Take a dash of colorful characters, a pinch of danger, and generous scoops of adventure and you have a terrific culinary mystery for young readers.
Five cousins are looking forward to their annual vacation at their grandmother’s cottage. None of them knows that this may be their last such summer. A mining company has set its sights on the land and is determined to seize it. Grandma must produce the deed to prove that the property is really hers, but her memory is not what it used to be, and she can’t find it. The children suspect there may be clues to the deed’s whereabouts somewhere in the family’s cherished trove of recipes. But can they solve the mystery in time?
Adult mystery buffs have had many culinary mysteries to choose from. Ellen Schwartz introduces her young readers to a delicious genre. She even provides easy-to-follow and yummy to eat recipes.
About the author
Ellen Schwartz was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in New Jersey. She moved to Canada in 1972. She has written several books for children, including Avalanche Dance and Stealing Home. Ellen Schwartz and her husband, Bill, live in Burnaby, BC, and have two grown daughters - one of whom is a professional chef.
“…The Case of the Missing Deed is fast-paced, and full of cryptic clues, secret codes, and red herrings…. Schwartz beautifully captures the agony, ecstasy, and exquisite self-centredness of a 13-year-old girl on a family vacation…. The Case of the Missing Deed is a great summer read for kids who love a good, meaty mystery as much as they love a delicious homemade dessert.”
—Quill & Quire
“For pre-teens who enjoy decoding secret messages while solving a mystery and doing some cooking on the side, The Case of the Missing Deed… fits all requirements.”
–The Winnipeg Free Press
“A treasure hunt, a family get-together, a beloved cottage threatened by an evil mining consortium –The Case of the Missing Deed has them all! … Schwartz has found a real recipe for success in this series.”
—Highly Recommended, CM Magazine
“A delightful mystery for children ten and up… Schwartz mixes tricky codes, ciphers with facts and interesting characters… The theme of environmental protection is well explained and the clues to the mystery are ingeniously sprinkled throughout a packet of recipes… Good dialogue, well-differentiated characters and a wholesome setting complete this old-fashioned mystery.”
— John Spray Mystery Award, Jury Comments
The Case of the Missing Deed (Teaspoon Detectives)Every year, five cousins look forward to their summer vacation at their grandmother’s cottage. This year, when they arrive, they are met with disturbing news. A mining company is buying up all of the land on the island and they have their sights set on their grandmother’s cottage. If Gran can’t produce the deed proving that the property is hers, she will lose the cottage. Unfortunately, Gran’s memory isn’t what it used to be, and she can’t recall where it’s hidden. The cousins believe that the clue to its whereabouts lies in Gran’s box of recipes, but can they solve the mystery in time?
In this new culinary mystery for young readers, Ellen Schwartz has launched a fun new series that is reminiscent of classic mysteries such as The Famous Five books by Enid Blyton. The cousins, all of varying ages, are realistically drawn with distinct personalities and have a fun dynamic that readers will identify with.
The mystery is drawn out in a series of cryptic puzzles and clues, and kids who enjoy puzzle solving will enjoy the challenge that this story presents. The clues have been cleverly hidden in recipe cards, leading the cousins (and the reader) on a treasure hunt around the island that leads to some amusing and embarrassing moments. A particular strength of the novel is the minimal adult involvement and the amount of autonomy that the kids are given to solve the mystery.
While some elements of the story seem far-fetched, this won’t impact kids’ enjoyment of it, and it will appeal to reluctant readers as well as budding chefs. The recipes are also printed throughout the novel and will be easy to follow and replicate.
This is the first book in a planned series. Young readers will look forward to future adventures with the Teaspoon Detectives.
Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Winter 2012. Volume 35 No. 1.
The Case of the Missing Deed (Teaspoon Detectives)Take a handful of colourful characters, a pinch of danger, and a generous scoop of adventure and you have a terrific culinary mystery. Five cousins must find the deed to the cottage their grandmother owns or she’ll lose her home. Discover how their grandfather left the clues to its whereabouts in easy-to-follow and yummy to eat recipes.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Fall, 2012.