We All Get a Clue by Nancy Ellen Hird, published by Desert Fires Press (2016), will keep you smiling at the heroine, twelve year-old Libby Carlsen. She has a wonderful personality and is always making the reader laugh. This book is the second in a series, the first being entitled I Get a Clue. Both of these stories are geared toward pre-teens, ages ten to thirteen, but I had a fabulous time reading them, and learned a lot about Scotland as well. Both books are mysteries, and while they are suspenseful, they are not at all frightening.
Libby, an American, is staying with her Scottish grandmother and aunt at Shepherd House, Gran’s bed-and-breakfast, in Edinburgh, Scotland, while her parents are working as missionaries in South America. The book begins with Libby emailing her brother, Tom, who is a computer genius in the US. He is very supportive of his younger sister, encouraging her in the Lord. She is a Christian, but is growing and learning more about placing her trust in Him.
She tells Tom that she and her best friend, Roopa Kumar, have entered a city-wide writing contest, with their book on women scientists. They are hoping to win. If they do, their book will be published.
Libby is also excited about accompanying her friends, Malcolm, his brother Jamie, and their father, Mr. MacLeod, owner of a bakery, on a catering job. Mr. MacLeod has been hired to cater an event at the country manor mansion of Viscount Blackford. This event will be a tea for those who financially support the Museum of Scotland. They know Libby has had experience since she helps serve at Shepherd House.
After being a short time at the mansion, Libby and Malcolm are called upon to help Isobel Martindale. They will unload books from the museum shop that she has brought to sell. Libby, who plans to be an astronomer someday, knows Isobel from church and has gone stargazing with her several times. While Libby is helping Isobel set up the book table, Isobel suggests that she and Libby take turns looking at the Viscount’s collection of antique scientific instruments in the library. Libby goes there first.
She meets Viscount Blackford and his friend, Professor Walkingshaw. Lord Blackford thinks Libby is a friend of his granddaughter, Kate, who is staying with him while her parents are abroad, but Libby says she has not yet met Kate. Libby admires an old letter on display in the library. The letter was written in French in 1794 by Marie Lavoisier, thanking scientist Joseph Black for his letter of condolence on the death of her husband, Antonin Lavoisier. Professor Walkingshaw insists that this famous letter should be under glass, but the Viscount does not agree.
A famous countess is in attendance at the tea, and Libby is told to serve her some pastries. Unfortunately, Libby gets nervous, trips and lands flat on the floor. Pastries go flying and someone snaps Libby’s picture, which later appears in the paper. Libby is horrified by what has transpired and flees to the loo. When she returns, she learns there’s been a theft and the police have been called. The police inform her that it is the Lavoisier letter that is missing.
A suspicious man from the event stays the night at Gran’s B&B. The next day, Libby receives an anonymous note stating she has the letter!! More accusations follow. With the help of her friends and using her detective skills, Libby works to prove her innocence and solve the mystery of the letter.
Libby feels she is always doing things wrong, and can’t compete with her talented brother, Tom, and amazing cello-playing sister, Mags. Her life seems to go from bad to worse when another girl in her class, Philippa, wins the manuscript-writing contest! But when Libby meets Tiffany Taylor Bradstreet of the Women in Science Museum, she is encouraged. She is further encouraged when Professor Walkingshaw later offers to help her and Roopa get their book published.
However, more mystery, adventures and close calls are in store for Libby and her friends. All turns out well and happy in the end. The most important thing for Libby, is that she feels the Lord has heard her prayers and has used her to make sure truth prevails and justice is done. Everyone is very proud of Libby, and she feels strengthened.
This book is not only enlightening and interesting, but encouraging to young people who are discovering that they have gifts to share. Libby is honest about her feelings of failure and frustration, making the novel real and helpful. Other young people can relate to this and learn to grow in their faith in the good times and the bad. They can also find that God’s Word is alive in their lives, lighting their way. I was encouraged in the Lord through this book, to keep doing good, even when others don’t always agree or understand. When I pray and follow Him, things are not perfect, but turn out according to His will, which is always right.
Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her five children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for 32 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”