Sunday, July 23, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Mystery of the Hats by Eddie Lay

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Mystery of the Hats by Eddie Lay. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Mystery of the Hats by Eddie Lay

Mystery of the Hats by Eddie Lay
Non-series
Publish America (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-4241-2649-5 (1424126495)
ISBN-13: 978-1-4241-2649-1 (9781424126495)
Publication Date: April 2006
List Price: $12.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Hannah and her best friend Amber discover a couple of strange hats in Hannah’s closet. The hats were the type worn by flappers in the 1920’s. The girls set out to discover the owner of the hats, and how they got in the closet. They enlist the aid of their elderly neighbor in the search of the secret behind the hats, and that secret leads to other startling and revealing surprises.

During the course of their investigation a strange girl in a white dress frequently appears to Hannah in a vision. Who is this girl and what does she want? Amber thinks she is a ghost, but Hannah does not believe in ghosts. What could the connection be between the apparition and the hats? Is there one?

In the process of uncovering the mystery of the hats they find deception, murder, and a secret so shocking it changes one of their lives forever.

Review: Mystery of the Hats is Eddie Lay's first published book, and it is an admirable though imperfect effort. The target audience is the middle school reader and it is appropriately written at this level.

Following in the tradition of many young adult mysteries, the principal characters are two typical teenage girls, best friends, who talk endlessly about boys. Over the course of a couple of days, they discover hats from the 1920s that have mysteriously appeared in one of the girl's closet. They do the appropriate research at the library, conduct interviews, and ultimately uncover the mystery behind the hats.

Why do the hats mysteriously appear now as opposed to a year ago or even ten years ago? This question would seem to be fundamental to the story, but it remains unanswered at the end of the book. In addition, the apparition acts more like a plot convenience rather than an essential part of the story. Why bring in paranormal or supernatural elements when the book could easily have been written without them? Finally, the tangential subplots, some of which have no obvious purpose in the book, could have been more tightly integrated into the story.

Mystery of the Hats has an interesting story line and appealing characters, but it is merely average in the highly competitive young adult mystery genre.

Special thanks to Eddie Lay for providing an ARC of Mystery of the Hats for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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