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HANNAH WEST IN THE BELLTOWN TOWERS
By Linda Johns
Sleuth/Puffin, May 2006 ($5.99)
Ages 10 and up
Reviewed by Shirley H. Wetzel
Hannah West is a twelve-year-old artist, dog walker, and amateur sleuth with a taste for adventure. She is the adopted Chinese daughter of a single mom who recently lost her job in the dot.com industry. To make ends meet, they have become house sitters. The latest move is into a condo in Belltown Towers, a posh address near downtown Seattle. They barely have time to settle in when their new neighbor and dog-walking client Dorothy Powell, a well-heeled patron of the arts, becomes a crime victim. A painting she'd bought by a hot new artist was stolen in transit, replaced by a blank canvas delivered by a bicycle messenger. It soon becomes obvious that this is not an isolated incident, as other paintings by the artist also go missing, just before a big charity auction is to take place.
When Hannah learns that friends of her mother are somehow involved, she resolves to find out what's going on. Hannah is a lively, inquisitive, and resourceful young lady, a pint-sized Adrian Monk with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder whose idea of educational t.v. is the Crime Network. Her best friend and cohort in crime solving, Lilly, is an Agatha Christie junky with plenty of spunk of her own. This being a children's book, there is little danger and no violence, just good clean fun and adventure. With a little help from the grownups, the two girl sleuths solve the crime and save the day.
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