The Root Cellar Mystery

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About the author:
Ann Carol Ulrich grew up (as Ann Schumacher) in a small town in Wisconsin. The Root Cellar Mystery was inspired by her childhood home in Monona, which had a root cellar underneath an addition to the family's house. She recalls that she and her friends used to explore it when they could get away with it. With her friends, she had a club which they called the P.E.D., and solving mysteries was part of their summertime fun. Nowadays, she writes novels and lives in Washington state. She has authored the Annette Vetter Adventure series for young adults, and has been a novelist since age 15. She continued to write romantic suspense and young adult novels and recently came out with her memoir about her adolescent years in Wisconsin and Michigan.

The Root Cellar Mystery

Authored by Ann Carol Ulrich
Edition: 1

Fourteen-year-old Chris Nesbit is miserable when her family moves away from Milwaukee to a small town in Iowa, where her father has accepted the job as the local paper's new editor.

Her little brother, Philip, doesn't seem bothered a bit as he announces to the family that Iowa is "tornado country" ... and he can't wait to see one.

The first night in their new house in the suburbs, Chris is awakened by a sound and happens to see the silhouette of a tall man in her room, walking out her bedroom door. Too frightened to scream, she waits till morning to tell her parents, but they don't believe her.

Chris is curious about the unexplored root cellar in the family's basement, all boarded up and covered with a curtain. She's dying to know what's inside it, but her mother says the cellar is off limits, even though none of them has even seen it.

Then Chris meets Wendy Young and Wendy's cute older brother Skip, who live across the street. She agrees to join Wendy's club, the P.E.D. (Private Eye Detectives), and together they attempt to solve their first mystery surrounding the Nesbits' eccentric next-door neighbor, Mr. North.

Not convinced that the strange-looking neighbor man deserves to be Wendy's suspect, "Mr. X," Chris at least will go along with the game. That is, until Pamela and Herbert Caldwell enter the picture.

These two overly friendly adults from the West Coast are interested in the Nesbits' house for genealogy purposes, yet the girls sense that there is something more on their agenda and that they are using a cover story to gain access to the Nesbits' new house.

Not only do night noises in the house continue, keeping Chris awake and a nervous wreck, but the girls discover a gold watch on the floor of the root cellar on the afternoon that they manage to sneak in for a quick look. Unfortunately, their exploring "mission" is cut short when Mrs. Nesbit comes home and chews them out for going into the cellar.

The Root Cellar Mystery is for young teens and is based on actual "activities" from the author's childhood. Chris learns that it's not wise to judge somebody based on a first glimpse, without knowing anything about their character. She also learns that moving away from your friends and meeting new people can be a good thing, especially when you get to be a Private Eye and the boy across the street really likes you.

Publication Date:
094485141X / 9780944851418
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
5.25" x 8"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Juvenile Fiction / Mysteries, Espionage, & Detective Stories

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