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

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  126 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
The play’s the thing . . .

To the outside world, Tom Pryne is an orphan traveling Elizabethan England with his uncle’s theater troupe. In actuality, “Tom” is Viola, in disguise because her parents’ Catholic sympathies have put them at odds with the Crown and forced them into hiding. When the troupe arrives in the sleepy little town of Stratford-on-Avon, Viola’s uncle is arr
Kindle Edition, 228 pages
Published October 5th 2010 by Aladdin (first published September 16th 2010)
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(showing 1-30)
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Kimberly Harris
Oct 30, 2016 Kimberly Harris rated it really liked it
I read this to my ten-year-old. It took us a while to get into this "whodunit" murder mystery, but once we did, it was a lot of fun, as well as helpful for my ten-year-old to get inside the "mind" of a young Ben Franklin and his friend multiracial girl named Patience who is an indentured servant.

We see the story through the eyes of Patience, who is feisty, fierce and loyal.

I enjoyed how the author didn't transplant modern children into the story like many historical fictional characters, but i
Sep 18, 2016 Lisa rated it it was ok
Recommended to Lisa by: Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum
A fun mystery for young children to solve that takes place in Boston in 1721 when Ben Franklin was a boy.
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
Jan 21, 2012 Patricia O'Sullivan rated it really liked it
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
May 05, 2016 Esther rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Jane Irish Nelson
Feb 14, 2016 Jane Irish Nelson rated it really liked it
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
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
Sep 17, 2011 Sandybear76 rated it really liked it
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
Amy King
Dec 17, 2015 Amy King rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 15, 2013 Laurel rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 21, 2012 Amy rated it liked it
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
Jun 06, 2011 Sarah Tilatitsky rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Iris Aschenbrand
Oct 23, 2013 Iris Aschenbrand rated it really liked it
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
Jul 12, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Nov 04, 2010 Tracie rated it really liked it
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 04, 2012 Kelly rated it liked it
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
Great historical fiction for 5th and 6th graders.
A mystery about Benjamin Franklin that includes a young indentured servant girl and witchcraft!
Feb 26, 2016 Kristen rated it really liked it
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!
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.
Jul 01, 2012 Jill rated it really liked it
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.
May 27, 2011 Lorelie rated it really liked it
Great story. I liked it better than Wicked Will. What a great concept to use icons from the past as children! Very enjoyable story.
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.
Jan 20, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it
Read this for a mother/daughter book club last year -- I liked the portrayal of Ben Franklin as a young boy. Fun read.
Christine rated it really liked it
Jan 26, 2016
Maggie rated it it was ok
Aug 05, 2012
Jan 17, 2014 Babymouse rated it it was amazing
really really good!
Triciangxngmail.Com rated it it was amazing
Oct 14, 2016
Emily rated it really liked it
Dec 31, 2015
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