I have finished reading the 29th book for the book challenge. I read The Red Blazer Girls: The Secret Cellar by Michael D. Beil.
Sophie, Margaret. Leigh Ann, and Becca are back in another mystery. Sophie is shopping for a Christmas gift for her father. They first go to an used book store, the shop of Marcus Klinger, who is very rude to them. Then they go to an antiques shop, where Sophie sees a fountain pen that will be auctioned off at an auction house. They ask Elizabeth Harriman to go with them to help them bid on the fountain pen. Sophie wins the bidding on the fountain pen, outbidding Marcus Klinger, who wins the bidding on all the lots of books and a walking stick for an outrageous sum of money. When Sophie is cleaning the fountain pen home, she finds a piece of paper with a reference to a book and “windows” that will lead to a clue on a page of the book. The girls go to the house of the estate of the man, Mr. Dedmann, and meet Shelley, his secretary, who shows them around. They see his cellar and the locks there: nine worthy men, nine muses, and nine planets, plus a table with the Milky Way. But there are no books. Marcus Klinger has bought them all. They find the book, Nine Worthy Men, from another source and break the clue. The first lock is Julius Cesaer and the key is the walking stick. It leads them to the next clue, the ribbon in the book.
They form an elaborate plot with their English teacher to get him to look at Mr. Dedmann’s copy of Nine Worthy Men that Mr. Klinger has at his shop and pull the ribbon and then replace it with another ribbon. He pulls the ribbon and many feet of ribbon come out of the book and there is writing on it! Mr. Klinger is distracted while Mr. Eliot is pulling the ribbon. Mr. Eliot puts it in his pocket to give to the girls and replaces the ribbon. The girls wrap the ribbon with the writing around a padded broomstick that resembles the walking stick to read the message clue. From there they learn that the second key is the muse Terpsichore and that there is a message written in the red in the stars. They also learn that there is a rumor that Mr. Dedmann was the Third Wiseman, a German spy that was dropped off in Maine during World War Two and never captured. Sophie gets a piece of transparent red film and places it over the Milky Way on the table and there is a message written in the stars. It says that Dedmann is the Third Wiseman and that he had a wife and child in Germany. His wife was named Venus. His name was Nuener. And it turns out that Shelley is his granddaughter. They also discover that Dedmann/Neuner had made a new will and had left his house and all the contents to Shelley, not leaving the house to to Klinger as originally thought, but Klinger had found a copy of the will and destroyed it. Shelley has not found the original. They now know the third lock: the planet Venus. But in order to turn the locks, they need the key: the walking stick.
In order to get the walking stick tip, they plot to make a copy of the tip with Gordon Winterbottom of the antiques shop. He goes with them to the bookstore and they create a diversion with a rat and make an impression in a tub of Play-Doh of the tip of the walking stick, then with epoxy make a replica of the tip of the walking stick. They go to the cellar and turn the three locks. They work! They open a fabulous wine cellar worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and they also find the original of Dedmann/Neuner’s will leaving everything to Shelley. Shelley plans to sell everything and open a school of the arts and sciences in the home.
The Red Blazer Girls have solved another mystery with their skill and cunning. Sophie is off to France to visit family for Christmas and they have also brought Winnie and Gordon Winterbottom back together again.
This was a sweet book to read. It is a young readers’ book but I enjoy this series. The clues are really complex and they are a bit confusing. But I like how it all comes together in the end.