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Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams
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U 50x66
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Jun 20, 2012

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By Peter Abrahams. #1 in the Echo Falls Mysteries. Grade B+

Down The Rabit Hole made me anticipate something like Alice in Wonderland. My instincts were wrong. It actually relates to the mystery surrounding the murder of a lady, Katherine Kovac, and how Ingrid (our protag) gets mixed up in this whole matter and decides to solve it.

Welcome to Echo Falls. Home of a thousand secrets, where Ingrid Levin-Hill, super sleuth, never knows what will happen next.
Ingrid is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or at least her shoes are. Getting them back means getting involved in a murder investigation rivaling those solved by her idol, Sherlock Holmes, and Ingrid has enough on her plate with club soccer, school, and the plum role of Alice in the Echo Falls production of Alice in Wonderland. But much as in Alice's adventures down the rabbit hole, things in Ingrid's small town keep getting curiouser and curiouser. Her favorite director has a serious accident onstage (but is it an accident?), and the police chief is on Ingrid's tail, grilling her about everything from bike-helmet law to the color of her cleats. Echo Falls has turned into a nightmare, and Ingrid is determined to wake up. Edgar Award–nominated novelist Peter Abrahams builds suspense as a smart young girl finds that her small town isn't nearly as safe as it seems.

Ingrid Levin-Hill, a thirteen year old has all the problems which a normal thirteen year old. She has braces, can't miss out a single soccer practice and now she has to worry about whether or not she would get selected in the Prescott play on Alice in Wonderland, as Alice. But these problems are small compared to the mess she has landed herself in. She left her red Puma cleats at Katherine Kovac's place, the evening before she was murdered! The cops think it's a valuable clue, but Ingrid has to bring it back before her parents come to know that she had been hanging out with Cracked-up Katie. However, doing so might cause Chief Strade (who is also the father of her new and nice friend, Joey) to suspect her as the murderer.

This one is meant for slightly younger readers, so perhaps that is why the mystery doesn't actually begin until the twentieth chapter (our of thirty). However, once I put this fact aside, I must confess I really enjoyed this book. She reminded me of a younger version of Nancy Drew and drew me in from the beginning. And the best part is not the mystery, it is how carefully and delicately the author has portrayed the thoughts and feelings and changes in a young girl's life. The writing is terrific; very sharp.

Ingrid walked over to a bench on the sidelines and sat down. Cold rain soaked her hair, her shoulders, her back. A thought came, a little late, like maybe she should have stayed in the taxi and had the driver take her home. What was the route from soccer to her house, 99 Maple Lane? Through the line of trees at the end of the field, Ingrid could see the red cross marking the helicopter pad on the hospital roof, and beyond that the spire of the Congregational church. From the church, you went by the village green and turned right at the corner with the Starbucks. Or was it the next corner, the one with the candy shop? Ingrid didn’t know, but it was getting dark now. Time to go.

The book also moves at an even pace, keeping the reader engrossed. The last few pages are the best, and the climax amazing.

My main problem was how the bad guy is trying to kill our heroine, a thirteen year old girl. Super creepy. But I suppose the target readership here is mature 10+ readers, who are not really going to think this I will let it go.

Will be enjoyed by the fans of this genre and by readers wanting to revisit their favourite childhood books.

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