The Mystery at Comanche Canyon
The Misadventures of Inspector Moustachio by Wayne Madsen
Review: The second misadventure of Inspector Moustachio, The Mystery at Comanche Canyon by Wayne Madsen, has Jake, his sister Alexa (aka Inspector Girl), and their cat Rex (the critter detective) jumping back in time to the Old West to find a missing treasure. The book is recommended for readers aged 9 to 12.
The story begins, innocently enough, with a recipe for barbeque sauce written generations ago. Jake discovers a tiny sketch on the back of the paper that he believes is a map that may lead to a long lost treasure that their great-great-great-grandfather was told about by a stranger but never found. With the time traveling magnifying glass in hand, the trio step back in time to solve this mystery.
The Mystery at Comanche Canyon is for the most part a delightful fantasy filled with colorful (literally and figuratively) characters. The story is surprisingly complex, combining puzzles with history and, of course, the paradox of time travel itself. At one point Jake muses, "Are events of time from both worlds the same or different? Could it be that history on one side of the magnifying glass is different from the other? And could people in one world alter time and events in the other?" Rhetorical questions to be sure in a children's book, but it is interesting that they are considered at all.
The book is clearly written at a level for pre-teenagers yet some of the situations in which the characters find themselves are particularly juvenile. Granted, Alexa is only 8 years old and animals speak on the other side of the magnifying glass, neither or which lend themselves to serious dialog. Still, the target audience of readers might find some of the silliness tedious. And the frequent use of capital letters, bold-faced type, and italics (sometimes all at the same time) will likely annoy most readers, regardless of age.
The Mystery at Comanche Canyon concludes by returning the children (and Rex) to their home and tying up all loose ends, including the mystery of the barbeque recipe. It's a strong addition to the series, the first book of which, The Case of Stolen Time, was honored as a Reading is Fundamental 2007 book pick.
Acknowledgment: Wayne Madsen provided a copy of The Mystery at Comanche Canyon for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Curse of Shipwreck Bottom
Community Press (Trade Paperback), November 2008
ISBN-13: 9780979757228; ISBN-10: 0979757223
Location(s) referenced in The Mystery at Comanche Canyon:
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The Mystery at Comanche Canyon by Wayne Madsen — The Misadventures of Inspector Moustachio
Publisher: Community Press
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: March 2008
List Price: $14.99