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Down the Rabbit Hole: An Echo Falls Mystery    by Peter Abrahams order for
Down the Rabbit Hole
by Peter Abrahams
Order:  USA  Can
Laura Geringer, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Down the Rabbit Hole is mystery author Peter Abrahams' first novel for teen readers, and it hits just the right note. Ingrid (her mom was a Casablanca fan) Levin-Hill struggles with math. She loves drama, soccer, and Sherlock Holmes. And resents her elder brother, Ty, and her orthodontist. The latter is a catalyst for the sequence of events that turns Ingrid's world into a strange Wonderland.

Since her mom is late picking her up and Ingrid doesn't want to miss soccer practice, she's inspired to walk there. The problem is that she gets lost and finds herself in the shabby Flats area of Echo Falls. There she meets eccentric Cracked-Up Katie, in tights and gold lamé spike heels. Katie offers Ingrid shelter and calls her a cab after a thunderstorm begins. The cab driver leaves her at the soccer field (practice canceled due to rain) where her mom locates her. A minor contretemps? It would be except that Katie is murdered that same day, and Ingrid left her red soccer cleats at the scene of the crime.

A teacher's unfair treatment makes Ingrid fear telling the authorities what happened, and she decides she must retrieve the cleats herself. This leads to a night-time excursion, a close call with what might be the killer, and a clue. While feeling continual guilt over her secret, Ingrid develops a close friendship with the police chief's son, Joey Strade, is picked for the leading role in the Prescott Players production of Alice in Wonderland, acquires a stray dog she names Nigel, and is taught to shoot and to drive by her Grampy (their relationship is one of the book's highlights).

The play's the thing that thickens the plot and helps Ingrid solve the murder. It also puts her in great peril, at risk of much worse than the actor's traditional break a leg. But Grampy's advice to get 'past the point of fear' pulls her through. Though I did guess the villain's identity fairly early on, I was still surprised by the details and enjoyed every moment of the engaging Ingrid's experiences Down the Rabbit Hole.

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