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Friday, January 11, 2019

The Law of Finders Keepers, written by Sheila Turnage. Kathy Dawson Books, Penguin Random House. 2018. $22.99 ages 10 and up

"Before all was said and done, it plunged me and my fellow Desperados - my best friends, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III and Harm Crenshaw, the agency's newest detective - into a blood-thirsty chapter of our town's history, and an unspoken chapter of Harm's past. It put our lives in peril, and sent us racing for treasures of the world and treasures of the heart. As for me, Mo LoBeau, it bent my rivers and scattered my stars."

Okay, after reading those opening lines, I doubt you will be able to resist moving forward with this wonderful tale of friendship, family, heartache, and hunting for treasure. If you have read the first three Desperado Detectives tales, you have likely got this one on your book shelf already. I know - I have been waiting 3 years to meet up with these fine young people again. If you are not a fan, or haven't heard anything about Three Times Lucky (2012), The Ghost of Tupelo Landing (2014), or The Odds of Getting Even (2015), you don't know what you are missing. My best advice would be to find the first three books, add them to this one, and spend a weekend getting to know Bo, Dale and Harm as well as the other exemplary characters who make their home in Tupelo Landing, North Carolina.

It makes me sad to think this is the final book in this fabulous, funny and memorable series. Mo is still searching for her missing Upstream Mother when another search begins in town. The search for Blackbeard's treasure brings Gabriel Archer, a professional, who has his eye on it. Of course, the Desperadoes are interested. They could use the money, and they like a challenge. They are not willing to be as unscrupulous as Gabriel and Kat, his partner who also happens to be Harm's mother. But, they have their ways for solving mysteries successfully.

The clues are numerous, the danger imminent at times, and the new clues about Mo's Upstream Mother have the detectives wavering between which case is most important. Will worldly treasures win, or will be it the treasures of the heart? It won't take you long to find out because, once you get started reading, it's pretty tough to stop. As I have done in the first three, I found myself stopping often to savor the storytelling. It made me sad, it made me laugh out loud, and it gave me characters to live in my memory for a long time.

I wish I had written this:

"She laughed easy and quick. "Call me Miss Bessie. Josie
did. I made cake yesterday, I'll cut us a slice."She glanced
at Attila. "What about your friend?"
Attila had perched on the yard swing. "That's my enemy.
She ain't hungry. Neither are we."
Dale elbowed me. "Excuse me," he said, very polite. "I'm
Mo's best friend Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, and this is
Mo's other best friend, Harm Crenshaw. We'd love to have
cake with you."
Dale is skilled in the art of dessert diplomacy."

Or this:

Dear Upstream Mother,
Miss Lana closed the cafe to give our hearts
time to catch their breath. She pushed the
Treasure Opening back too.
Not even the sky's the right color in a world
without you.
Usually we feed Tupelo Landing, but all day
people came to our door bringing us food, in honor
of you. Dale and Harm came just to say hello.
Lavender brought a pie. I ate it when the clock
said time to eat, but I couldn't find it's taste.

What a voice, what charming characters and setting, what storytelling! You should NOT miss it! My copy is headed straight for the 'keepers' shelf.

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