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Behind the Curtain: An Echo Falls Mystery    by Peter Abrahams order for
Behind the Curtain
by Peter Abrahams
Order:  USA  Can
Laura Geringer, 2006 (2006)

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In the first in the Echo Falls series, Down the Rabbit Hole, Peter Abrahams introduced his young math-challenged heroine, Ingrid Levin-Hill. She lives at 99 Maple Lane and is friends with the police chief's son, Joey Strade. The first time round she solved a murder.

In this second adventure, Ingrid faces trouble on several fronts. She's enrolled in MathFest against her will by her teacher Ms. Groome, whose mouth opens in 'a thin sharklike slit.' She worries that her older brother Ty might be taking steroids. Her superstressed father is unhappy in his job, endangered by a new colleague, Princeton graduate and soccer star Julia LeCaine. Ingrid's old friend - and recent nemesis - Chloe seems to want to renew their friendship, but demands something of Ingrid in return, to do with Grampy's valuable land.

Then Ingrid is kidnapped! She gets herself out of it by logic and daring, but afterwards no-one except Joey believes that it happened, since there's no evidence to be found. Her parents even send her to see a shrink, and words spreads around school, to Ingrid's mortification. But she doesn't give up. Rather, she thinks things through as her role model, Sherlock Holmes would do, and decides that a sting is in order - resulting once again in close shaves for this often overconfident young actress/sleuth.

I love this series and its utterly delightful, vulnerable and very human young heroine. In Behind the Curtain, she solves not one but two mysteries, helping her own family get back to normal in the process.

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