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The Secret of the Sealed Room: A Mystery of Young Benjamin Franklin
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The Secret of the Sealed Room: A Mystery of Young Benjamin Franklin

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  114 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Indentured servant Patience Martin lives a hard life in 1721 Boston, but things get even harder when her demanding employer is found dead—in a bedroom locked from the inside. Powerful townsmen accuse Patience’s friend, Moll Bacon, of being a witch and the murderer, but with her own future in jeopardy, Patience doesn’t know how she can help prove Moll’s innocence—until she ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 5th 2010 by Aladdin (first published September 16th 2010)
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May 05, 2016 Esther rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jane Irish Nelson
After her parents' deaths, mulatto Patience Martin is indentured to Mrs. Worth, widow of her father's former employer, a ship's captain. One night Mrs. Worth sends Patience to fetch Moll Bacon, the midwife, to help her with her pains. But next morning, Patience can't rouse her mistress through the locked bedroom door. When the room is entered, Mrs. Worth is dead, poisoned, and her strongbox is missing. When Moll Bacon is accused of the poisoning, Patience is determined to help her, and also to f ...more
Amy Sunahara
Oct 15, 2015 Amy Sunahara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun mystery set against historical backdrop of when Ben Franklin was young. Liked this quote from the main character Patience, a girl of only 14, who said: "It is a curious thing, but I have since noticed that, like me, many folks are fearful of something that is going to happen, so they suffer agonies in advance. And then when they have to do whatever unpleasant task it might be, they bear up well enough. If we could only borrow future courage from the actual event, I think, and use it while we ...more
Amy King
Dec 17, 2015 Amy King rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book for kids aged 8 and above. It is best read aloud to those less than about 10. I read it to my 8-year-old grandson, and he was always eager for another chapter. A fun murder mystery featuring a young Ben Franklin, it provides insight into the life of a apprentice during the colonial period. References are made to the witch trials, the treatment of Quakers and blacks, and to the relationship between folk doctors and medical doctors (Hint: folk doctors win the day). A real page ...more
Beth G.
In church of a Sunday when the parson preaches about the sins and failings of women, I would swear he gazes straight at me with a stern, disapproving look.

Patience Martin knows she is hardly the model of good behavior. But what incentive does she have? After her mother's death three years ago, her father bound her as a servant to the wealthy Mrs. Worth. Then her father died in the same shipwreck that left Mrs. Worth a widow in the middle of a difficult pregnancy. She has four long years to serve
Patricia O'Sullivan
Fourteen-year-old Patience Martin is unhappily indentured to the sick and demanding widow, Abedela Worth. But when Mrs. Worth dies unexpectedly, instead of freeing Patience, Mrs. Worth’s brother-in-law decides to sell Patience to harsh master. With little more than her quick wit and the help of a resourceful printer’s apprentice named Benjamin Franklin, Patience runs away and plans to leave town and become a servant for pay in another city. But when Patience’s friend, Moll is jailed for poisonin ...more
Miss Amanda
gr 5-8 208 pgs

1721, Boston, MA. 14 year old indentured servant Patience is in trouble. Her mistress is dead, poisoned, and her money box is missing. The family thinks that Moll the midwife and Patience are responsible. Patience and her friend Ben Franklin are determined to clear both their names.

Great mystery with information about young Ben Franklin and a surprise ending
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Kira M for

14-year-old Patience Martin is the daughter of a sea captain and an escaped slave. Living in 1721 Boston, Patience faces four dreary years as an indentured servant to Abedela Worth.

When Mrs. Worth dies, however, Patience takes her chances and makes the mistake of running away.

Soon it is discovered that Mrs. Worth was poisoned, and Patience is suspected of stealing a lot of cash from her. Can she clear her name and solve the mystery behind Mrs. Worth's death
Read aloud for kids. They thought it was all right.
Sep 17, 2011 Sandybear76 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this juvenile mystery fiction book. It tells of an indentured servant Patience working for a recently widowed woman, living in Boston. The servant's mistress dies during childbirth and Patience's friend Moll, the midwife, is accused of the death. The servant runs away but tries to solve the mystery. Patience becomes friends with young Ben Franklin, a teenage printing apprentice in Boston. The two friends look for clues about the death and find a way to show the results to a very ...more
Jan 20, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this for a mother/daughter book club last year -- I liked the portrayal of Ben Franklin as a young boy. Fun read.
Feb 21, 2012 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was just ok. Kate and I are reading this for our mother daughter book group so I found myself pushing through it just so I could finish and move onto something else. The mystery isn't much of a mystery but it was probably set up to be easy for kids. I didn't find the characters all that interesting although I discovered things about Benjamin Franklin I didn't know before.
Sarah Tilatitsky
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 15, 2013 Laurel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any age
I liked this book quite a bit. It was pretty basic, but that was one of the things I enjoyed about it. Nowadays, kids books are so full of twists and turns, it was fun to just read a straightforward mystery without all the hoopla. It was fairly predictable, but here again, something that is fun occasionally. All in all, a fun read.
Iris Aschenbrand
Oct 23, 2013 Iris Aschenbrand rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a touch of history in this mystery as Patience and young Ben Franklin try to solve a mystery of theft and poisoning. Somehow Patience, who is an indentured servant, gets accused, and she and Ben work overtime to try to find the true antagonist. A good read
Nov 04, 2010 Tracie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-school, elem
Patience Martin is an indentured servant. When her mistress is poisoned, Patience is implicated in her murder. She runs away, and with the help of a young Ben Franklin, she tries to prove her innocence as they work together to discover what really happened.
Jul 12, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: upper-grades
Well written historical fiction/mystery. Good pacing, age-appropriate historical detail--the reader has an understanding of what life was like at that point in history, without being bogged down by too much details. Engaging mystery to solve--recommend!
Jul 04, 2012 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
Good book, but an author's note with historical info and bibliography would have been extremely helpful. Check out my full review at
Jul 01, 2012 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: with-the-kids
Not the most exciting book I've ever read, but my kids enjoyed it. Great insight on what life was like in Colonial times for a "tween," mixed with mystery to keep it from being dry.
I read this to my youngest - it was a book from the Sonlight homeschool reading list that we didn't get to. It is very well written and engaging. Recommend!
Jan 26, 2012 Janell rated it liked it
Great historical fiction for 5th and 6th graders.
A mystery about Benjamin Franklin that includes a young indentured servant girl and witchcraft!
May 27, 2011 Lorelie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story. I liked it better than Wicked Will. What a great concept to use icons from the past as children! Very enjoyable story.
Karen Arendt
I thought the portrayal of Ben Franklin as a child was good. They mystery dragged a bit until the resolution at the end.
Kathleen Kirby Vallejo
Read this for mother/daughter book club with Amya. I can see how this would be an interesting mystery for younger/tween girls.
Mar 23, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A mystery that will keep you guessing till the end.
Dec 31, 2010 Sheila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Surprise ending. Loved the characters.
Pretty good
Jan 17, 2014 Babymouse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
really really good!
Tracy rated it it was amazing
May 26, 2016
Jonah White
Jonah White rated it it was ok
May 24, 2016
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