Authors: Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith
Series: Nick and Tesla
Publication: Quirk Books (May 6, 2014)
Description: After foiling a gang of kidnappers and fending off an army of robots, 11-year-old siblings Nick and Tesla Holt could use a little rest! But as their third mystery opens, they discover there’s a spy in their midst, searching for secrets in the home of their beloved (and slightly crazy) Uncle Newt. Is it the new laboratory assistant? The exterminator? The housekeepers? Or someone completely unexpected? To expose the mystery agent, Nick and Tesla must engineer all kinds of outrageous contraptions, from code wheels and fingerprint powder to spy cameras and burglar detectors. Best of all, instructions are included throughout the story, so you can build the projects, too!
My Thoughts: Nick and Tesla are back at it again in this third story. They know that someone is spying on them and they have loads and loads of suspects. Is it their neighbor Julie Casserly? She is always fussing around her yard and some of Uncle Newt's inventions have done damage. Her garden gnome will never be the same. Or is it Mr. Jones who is Uncle Newt's neighbor on the other side. Nick is suspicious of everyone they know in town from the lone police officer to the man who delivers the mail.
Their suspicions are really roused when they come home one day to find that Uncle Newt has hired an exterminator who seems suspiciously afraid of bugs and two cleaning ladies too. Then the apprentice Uncle Newt didn't remember hiring arrives. Oli says he is from Australia but he had a strong Russian accent and doesn't seem to know very much about science.
Nick and Tesla take the opportunity to contrive a number of devices the let them spy on the suspicious people including a fingerprint finder, a "ring-a-ding-ding spy exposure system", and a hidden camera. They also make a code ring using styrofoam cups so that they can write in code to each other. There are plans in the book so that young spies and inventors can make the gadgets too.
The story is fast-paced and filled with funny incidents. Middle grade mystery readers will enjoy this story.
Nick and Tesla's uncle was an inspired, ingenious, innovative inventor. Unfortunately, he was also a forgetful, dreamy, not-particularly-safety-minded one. Since the kids had come to stay with him a couple of weeks earlier, his out-of-control creations had chewed up Julie's flower beds, demolished one of her garden gnomes, set her lawn on fire, and splattered her car with thirty pounds of putrid banana flambé. (Uncle Newt was convinced he could build an engine for a vacuum cleaner that ran on compost. So far, he'd only succeeded in building several extremely smelly time bombs.)I got my copy from the publisher for review. You can buy your copy here.