Mystery with Truths About the Past

Today I have a book that is a mystery with truths about the past.  The main plot is a hunt for a treasure, but intertwined is the story about a black family from the 1950s who are suffering at the hands of racism,  The author has created a compelling story that also examines what it was like to be black in the South and the struggles for equality that continue to creep up in insidious ways throughout our culture.

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Title: The Parker Inheritancemystery with truths about the past Parker Inheritance

Author: Varian Johnson

Target: Grades 4-7

Series: No

What this book is about:

Candice and her mother move into her deceased grandmother’s house and Candice finds a letter in the attic.  The letter describes the injustices inflicted upon the Washington family who lived in their town years ago and then gives clues to a mystery that will net the town and the person who solves the mystery a substantial fortune.  Candice and her friend from across the street, Brandon, begin to piece together clues from the past.  They learn about race relations in the South, teenagers in love and the damage that was inflicted on families who dared to want equality.

Why I love this book:

  • This book totally surprised me.  I thought it was a solve the mystery romp, but it turned out to be so much more.  There were times I actually got more caught up in the stories from the past than the current treasure hunt.  However, the mystery was a lot of fun and the double meaning behind so many of the clues always had me shaking my head wondering how I missed it.
  • The inspiration for the hunt was based on the Westing Game, and the book is referred to frequently throughout the story.  It has been years since I read the Westing Game, but I am sorely tempted now to pick it up again.  I always love a book that encourages kids to read more books!
  • This book does an admirable job of sharing what it was like to be black in the South.  It also touches on the challenges black individuals face today by getting us invested in the characters and being empathetic to their plight.  Yes, reading is important!

Who this book is for:

This book is great for kids who love a mystery.  It reminded me immediately of Holes.  Both books have a fortune to be found and the key is hidden in the past.  Both books go back and forth between the past and present and touch on race relations.  If your kids liked that book, give this one a try.

Final thoughts:

I wish that the story had been a little tighter.  There were a few too many threads that didn’t need to be there because the story is so rich already.

To purchase this book:

Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Parker Inheritance.  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.