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The Mardi Gras Chase

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  104 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Twelve-year-old Melanie is bored with her little sister and with yet another Mardi Gras in her hometown. But when she notices a secret code built into the floats of a Mardi Gras parade, she realizes that life might have some surprises left.

Melanie and her friends set off to break the Mardi Gras code. They chase clues throughout the season's parades, sneak into forbidden
Paperback, 148 pages
Published November 10th 2015 by Leopold Press
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Patrick Hodges
Nov 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Living in Mobile, Alabama during Mardi Gras week may sound exciting, but for 12-year-old Melanie ... not so much. But that all changes when she notices something amiss with some letters that appear askew in a series of floats that wander by during a parade that she attends. She surmises that the mis-formed letters are some sort of code, and her curious brain takes over. Enlisting her best friends Faye and Kate, she leaves no stone unturned to figure out what the code could mean.

This book was a
Maggie Larche
Nov 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
READERS' FAVORITE REVIEW: In The Mardi Gras Chase (True Girls) (Volume 1) by Maggie M Larche, Melanie, Kate and Faye are attending one of the many Mardi Gras parades in Mobile, Alabama that usually lasts for several weeks. Melanie is bored and can’t see what all of the hoopla is about in attending the parade. Faye is unhappy because she never seems to get enough beads in her bag, and Kate is ecstatic because she is quickly filling up her bag with beads. As Melanie is contemplating whether to ...more
Angelina Kerner
May 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Title: The Mardi Gras Chase
Author: Maggie M. Larche
Source: Received as a gift for an honest book review
My Rating : 5 Stars

After finishing reading The Mardi Gras Chase, I realized how awesome it used to be a kid. It made me think of the books that I’ve read when I was a kid, with one of them being, Time Cat. At least that’s what I think the title was. It was pure pleasure to loose myself in the Children's Middle Grade (ages 8-12) genre. The book should be at the top of the list for any parent.
Mar 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids
There were so many things to like about this book. (I read it to check out for my almost-8-year-old strong reader.) I really liked the three main characters, their personalities and how they worked together yet were different. I liked the family interactions, including realistic relationships with parents and siblings. I liked the quirky mystery (and a great solution) that wasn't ugly, gross, or unrealistic for 12-year-olds to experience or handle.

I do, however, have two complaints. First, the
Emma Blythe
Nov 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved this fun book that is just perfect for tweens. It really reminded of the mystery books I loved to read as a chid/teen, and I got totally caught up in cracking the mystery code along with the main characters. I enjoyed how well-rounded the girls' characters were, and loved the fact there was such a positive emphasis on friendship and working together. Without giving away any spoilers, I also loved the ending and how the mystery was tied up - along with hinting at more adventures to come! ...more
May 23, 2017 rated it liked it
I got a free ebook version of this book by contacting the author, so many many thanks to Maggie M. Larche for being so open to spreading the love with her book!

This was adorable. I read it in a day, practically. By the end of chapter two, I said out loud to myself, "I'm going to love this." It's a cute, fast read, and refreshing. It was a simple mystery, one that I think could absolutely be expanded on! But I know it's in the low end of middle grade/children's books - age wise - so I can see why
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a cute young reader book. The main character is aged 12 so the whole thing is catered to younger readers. I think its cute, not too much violence no romance which is awesome based off of the age of the characters.
would recommend.
Jennifer Hulst

This book was amazing! It makes me wish I live there and this happened to me. I LOVED this story and the characters. It was really funny too.
Pop Bop
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
A Nice Change From "Mean Girls"

I found this book to be very appealing, but mostly because of the three heroines rather than the mystery plot as such.

As to the plot, we have a mystery involving a secret message hidden in the backwards letters that appear in some of the words on various Mobile, Alabama Mardi Gras parade floats. Our three heroines have to collect all of the letters, (which requires detective work, skullduggery, and some lurking), and then break the code presented by the letters.
Whispering Stories
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
‘The Mardi Gras Chase’ was a book I was not expecting to like as much as I did. I mean it is for a much younger audience and, at best, I thought I would be amused by their antics. But damn the author has done a brilliant job!

Melanie, Kate and Faye are three friends who study in the same school and live near each other. One day Melanie notices that a letter is upside down on a float in the Mardi Gras parade. She’s curious and starts noting down all the odd looking letters and is determined to
We Said It: Literary Reviews  w/ Ts Blogging
Title: Masks, Mayhem, Mysteries & More!
“The Mardi Gras Chase” by Maggie M. Larche

Reviewed by B. Smart
4:28 p.m.

Love puzzles, clues, and hidden treasure hunts? The Mardi Gras Chase is a heart-warming story about three friends in Mobile, Alabama who go on an adventure to decipher a mysterious code hidden in the Mardi Gras parades. 12-year-old Melanie Smythurst is bored of her small town and wishes desperately that her life was more interesting. Her dream comes true one night when she
Vernita Naylor
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In The Mardi Gras Chase (True Girls) (Volume 1) by Maggie M Larche, Melanie, Kate and Faye are attending one of the many Mardi Gras parades in Mobile, Alabama that usually lasts for several weeks. Melanie is bored and can’t see what all of the hoopla is about in attending the parade. Faye is unhappy because she never seems to get enough beads in her bag, and Kate is ecstatic because she is quickly filling up her bag with beads. As Melanie is contemplating whether to stay to watch this annual ...more
Barbara Ann
Mar 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fast moving middle grade mystery adventure involving three friends, Melanie, Kate, and Faye. While attending one of the mardi gras parades in Mobile, Alabama, the girls notice that some of the letters on the floats are upside down. They copy the letters R.C.E.N.R.A.P. In addition, the strange letters appear only on the high and “poufy” floats. These friends do some internet research, discovering that Mr. Simmingham is their designer. The girls visit the museum to investigate the floats stored ...more
Kristy Cooper
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was my second book by Maggie M. Larche. 12 year old Melanie's friends drag her to a Mardi Gras parade that she's not really feeling it. Then she discovers that a bunch of the floats have random backwards letters on them. and she get curious whether there is a pattern. They decide they need to attend the rest of the Mardi Gras parades and find out what letters they have already missed to potentially put together a code.

The mystery Melanie and her friends find themselves in seems a little
Sara-Lisa Andersson
May 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A fun and easy read about a group of friends attempting to solve a puzzle during Mardi Gras in Mobile. The adventure was age-appropriate and realistic, no super-heroics or implausible lucky breaks required, just persistence and a keen mind (plus a little help from friends, siblings, and even strangers). The girls made good use of the resources at hand, and the puzzle had a satisfying resolution.
The book was well-written and a great introduction to the Mardi Gras tradition for readers who (like
Beverly McClure
Feb 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Most little kids and teens love a parade. Most grown-ups like them too. Who can resist the music, the treats tossed to the crowd, and the floats?

THE MARDI GRAS CHASE, a novel for middle grade/tween readers by Maggie M. Larche, has parades and a whole lot more. The story opens with Melanie Smythurst and her friends, Kate and Faye, watching the Mardi Gras parade, when Melanie notices that some of the letters on the floats are backwards. She gets to wondering why. Is it a code of some sort, a
Scott Peters
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
This middle grade mystery was a fun read. It held my attention and I read it in three sittings. I found it relaxing as it kept me turning the pages and wanting to find out how the mystery would be wrapped up. I liked the characters--the three main friends, and also the way Melanie, the main character, interacted with her baby sister. It was sweet and funny and I think Melanie makes a good role model.

I don't really know much about Mardi Gras, and I had no idea Mobile, Alabama had so many parades.
Margaret Chiavetta
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Mardi Gras Chase is a delightful read. It’s well-written, with clean, engaging prose. The three twelve-year-old girls, Melanie, Faye, and Kate are an adventurous band of clever young ladies. Their friendship is solid, their banter is entertaining, and their fun dialogue keeps the story moving smoothly.

I also enjoyed the rich Mobile, Alabama culture. This story is tightly tied to the week-long Mardi Gras celebration. As an anthropologist, I love having the chance to indulge in and learn about
Apr 12, 2016 rated it liked it
For full review please go to:, Twitter @camartinez and Facebook "5 Girls Book Reviews"

REVIEW BY: Michaela, age 11 years, 8 months


This book was pretty good. I do recommend this book to younger readers though because to me it was a little boring, but I think my younger sister would LOVE it.

My favorite character is Kate because she has all brothers, while I have all sisters. I find it interesting that this happens sometimes and it made me giggle
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A fun, realistic mystery for girls seeking adventure!

The Mardi Gras Chase is a clever mystery that builds in intensity and kept me turning pages. I enjoyed following along with this group of smart, curious friends as they enter the intriguing world of code breaking. The characters and their conversations come across as real. Descriptions of Mardi Gras are insightful and an entertaining setting for girls on a mission. This feel-good tale ends with a reveal that is unexpected and engaging. Looking
Gina Hott
The Mardi Gras Chase is an amazing middle-grade mystery! The team is likeable and spunky, the kind of girls we’d want out daughters to befriend. The mystery is brisk, thought-provoking, and age appropriate.
This is an absolute must on the summer reading list for your 4th-7th grader girls.
I’ll definitely be looking for more books from Maggie M. Larche!

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Maggie M. Larche loves to sing, read, and swing right alongside her kids. All of her stories feature courageous, smart, funny kids, because that's who her readers are!

She is the author of the award-winning Striker Jones series, a groundbreaking approach to teach economics to children through mystery stories.

Join her mailing list at and get a free download of her new hilarious