Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen by M. T. Anderson is a sequel to Whales on Stilts which I haven’t read. Anderson also wrote Feed and The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing. This book is like a juvenile version of the Eyre Affair about kids’ series books. Part of the fun for an older reader is figuring out which series is being parodied.

The story is about Katie (adventurer & mystery solver), Jasper Dash (a whiz kid like Tom Swift), and Lilly (who is ordinary) who go on vacation and run into other literary stars of kids’ book series. Quintuplets (5 Little Peppers?) are abducted and it is up to the heroes and heroines to find them. The Cutsey Dell Twins (Sweet Valley High) are too vacuous and self-centered to do much. The Manley Boys (Hardy Boys) are too stupid and too close to being bullies to accomplish much.

There are many strange characters at the hotel and most of them have clearly missed the exit to reality a couple of hundred miles back. Outrageous stuff happens on nearly every page and it’s hard to keep up with all the reversals and reveals and mortal peril.

However, it’s also strangely pensive:

“…everyone staying at the Lodge that weekend was so full of longing…that they ended up a little broken somehow, unable to see what was obvious to others, unaware of what year they lived in, or how they looked, or what was right and wrong. We are all lost and confused in this way, so full of longing for things: This is why we need people who solve mysteries, whether they are the mysteries of bloodstains on the carpet, or the mysteries of space, or the mystery of who we are.” p240

I wonder how many matches kids reading this series will make. Nevertheless, it’s got death-by-snot scenes, so it should be OK.

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