Friday, April 19, 2024

43. The Mystery of Locked Rooms

The Mystery of Locked Rooms. Lindsay Currie. 2024. 256 pages. [Source: Library] [Middle grade realistic fiction]

First sentence: "Angle it the other way!" West screeches, holding his mirror up in the air. Sweat beads on his forehead, and his eyes are wild with excitement. We're going to beat the clock this time. We have to. "Toward the door!"

Premise/plot: Sarah Greene and her friends West and Hannah love, love, love, love, love to do escape rooms. "The Deltas" find it super-thrilling to work together to beat the most challenging of escape rooms. However, their attention turns slightly away from "escape rooms" to an old abandoned fun house built in the 1950s. It is rumored that this never-opened-to-the-public fun house contains hidden treasure. Sarah is desperate for treasure to save her family. (Of course she is). Working together, these three ignore all the warnings and no trespassing signs to break into the fun house and find the treasure. What they find is essentially a series of escape rooms. If they find their way out of the house, will there be treasure in their hands?

My thoughts: I finished this one by sheer will power. I want to be very clear that this is my subjective opinion. I personally could not suspend my disbelief. And that is what this book depends on to thrive, to succeed. Readers need to believe wholeheartedly in this adventure: that a seventy-year old abandoned house--a fun house--is no worse for wear and ready to entertain those who love challenging puzzles. One thing that personally annoyed me is how personal and omniscient the messages to the three children are. This is never explained how the house seems to know everything--you'd think that a clue/message hidden in a house long, long, long abandoned would not be omniscient to know if it was the first, second, third, etc. choice of the kids. 

The fun house itself does not make sense. It seems that it wouldn't be efficient for multiple people to visit. For example, if you have to break down a wall to reveal a secret room (via trapeze) that doesn't seem like it would be cost-efficient, if you have to re-set up that little trick every time someone comes. 

And I can't forget for one second that escape rooms did not exist in the 1950s. The idea that sixteen escape rooms have been sitting abandoned with traps ready to spring for seventy plus years is too much for me personally. 

I also found the ending disappointing. 

 Other readers probably won't overthink the plot mechanics. I think the book does offer strengths--the three characters are developed. I like the give and take of their relationship(s). 


© 2024 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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