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Book Review: *The Crypto-Capers: The Case of the Missing Sock* by Renee Hand (middle reader)

  • The Crypto-Capers: The Case of the Missing Sock by Renee Hand
  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc. (October 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878393046

crypto-capers-cover-pic-001Back of the book blurb: The Team:  Siblings Max and Mia Holmes, along with their good friend Morris and their flamboyant Granny Holmes, are known as The Crypto-Capers.  They are a group of detectives who unravel crimes by solving cryptograms that criminals leave behind.  Mia is an expert puzzle solver.  Max is great at deduction and reasoning.  Morris is a computer genius, and Granny . . . well, Granny is the muscle of the group.  Don’t let her size or age fool you, she is quite handy.   The Stolen Items: An antique sock (just one) and Prada sunglasses.  The Assignment: The Case of the Missing Sock leads the Crypto-Capers to Florida, where they are hired by a Mr. Delacomb.  The mystery leads the team to different locations.  Clues flourish throughout the mystery.  Suspects by the handful seem to pop up at every turn, but who committed the crime?  Help the detectives solve the case by solving the cryptograms and puzzles.

She is Too Fond of Books’ review: Renee Hand has written a book that will satisfy readers in a wide range of reading and puzzling skills.  What middle reader wouldn’t want to slip into the guise of one of the child detectives, working for Scotland Yard, traveling the world, and playing with all kinds of high-tech gadgetry?!  The characters are a bit quirky, and are equally appealing to boys and girls.

My 11-year-old son enjoyed reading/solving the book, and I did a shared read-aloud with my almost-7-year-old, who was especially excited about solving the six cryptograms in the book.  The last puzzle doesn’t have an accompanying key; it’s a lead-in to the next book in the series.  Solving this last puzzle was a task all three of us dove in to … and were finally successful after a few false starts.  It was a good exercise to learn about frequently-used letters of the alphabet, searching for patterns, etc.  We would have liked to have more of these “keyless” puzzles (perhaps with an answer key in the back, so no one gets too frustrated!)

The Crypto-Capers: The Case of the Missing Sock is a very fun interactive book that involves the reader in solving the mystery by combining clues the detectives uncover, solving cryptograms which lead to additional clues, and a little lucky guesswork.  We’re looking forward to reading The Case of the Red Rock Canyon, which was published on June 1, 2009.

Renee Hand keeps a blog at The Crypto-Capers Review.  A third book in the Crypto-Capers series is due out in the fall of 2009.

7 comments to Book Review: *The Crypto-Capers: The Case of the Missing Sock* by Renee Hand (middle reader)

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