The Mystery of the Third Lucretia by Susan Runholt

lucretia.JPGCarrie and Lucas are best friends. They’re fourteen. They’re smart, creative, confident, and inquisitive. They don’t let anyone push them around. They’re interested in art, women’s rights, and international travel. So, they’re the perfect people to stumble upon the biggest art crime in the past hundred years. It all starts with a rude man in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and it all ends with a grey-haired nun in Amsterdam, Holland. What comes in between is probably my very favorite young adult mystery ever (or at least it’s up there with Gilda Joyce and Enola Holmes).

“Go away,” the man at the Rembrandt exhibit snarls at Kari, when she tries to take a look at what he’s painting. He covers his canvas and gives her a menacing look. What’s the big deal? she wonders. What’s this guy hiding? Is he just embarrassed that maybe he’s a really bad painter or something? But when, almost a year later, Kari and Lucas see the same man, at another museum, parked in front of another Rembrandt painting, in disguise, the girls suspect there’s something more going on with this guy than just low self-esteem. Together, Kari and Lucas conspire to uncover the identity of this mystery man and figure out what he’s up to. But when the investigation leads them into dangerous territory involving kidnapping, fraud, and maybe even murder, will the girls be able to manage it without getting killed – or grounded?

This novel makes it into my top five of 2008, easily. Before long, it will probably start showing up on recommended reading lists all over the place. Read it now, before somebody tells you the end and ruins it for you!

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