Monday, March 5, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Neil Flambe and the Aztec Abduction

Today’s pick:  Neil Flambe and the Aztec Abduction  by Kevin Sylvester

Key Porter Books, 2010
Publisher’s Description:

Fresh off his success in solving the Marco Polo murders, Neil Flambé heads to Mexico City to take part in the Azteca Cocina — a two-week battle of the chefs. But things start to go wrong at the very first battle. Neil’s box of secret ingredients contains more than he bargained for. There’s a note inside, telling him that Isabella has been kidnapped. He must lose in the final, or else she’ll be killed. The kidnappers are obviously having fun — with every ransom note they send, they include a lock of Isabella’s hair, not realizing how clever their captive really is! Knowing that Neil and his super-nose will be looking for her, Isabella does what she can to help, rubbing her hair in the smelliest thing she can find at each location. Neil can smell garbage, flowers, and animals, but this only helps him find out where Isabella has already been — not where’s she heading next! In order to solve this mystery, Neil will need Larry's knowledge of Mexican history and Spanish, Sean Nakamura's portable forensic lab, and Angel Jicama's mentorship. He’ll have to delve into Aztec history, symbolism, and even into the real ruins that are buried under the modern city. But will he figure it all out in time?

My Take: 
Mixing cooking and a mystery is a recipe for a fun story! The main character, Neil Flambe, has a hefty dose of ego and an amazing sense of smell, but he has a strong sense of determination. There is a lot of humor in this story, which makes it entertaining and at times, a little over the top. The plot is far-fetched, but I think that adds to the humour. I like the author’s sketches that are sprinkled through the story. There is quite a bit of interesting historical information about Mexico woven into this story, which at times seems like a bit too much. But overall, this is a fun read with lots of humour that will appeal to both boys and girls.  

Other Info:
This is the second book in a series, the first being Neil Flambe and the Marco Polo Murders.

This book is nominated for the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading in the Silver Birch (Fiction) category for 2012. I’ve profiled a few of the other nominated books: That Boy Red, The Glory Wind, Ghost Messages, and Undergrounders.

I first heard of the character of Neil Flambe in a CBC radio summer broadcast of the story Neil Flambé and the Case of the Caustic Cumin.  Kevin Sylvester also works for CBC radio and was a sports broadcaster for many years.

Other books by this author include:
Neil Flambe and the Marco Polo Murders

Game Day
Gold Medal for Weird
Sports Hall of Weird
For more, go to the Neil Flambe website or visit Kevin Sylvester’s blog.

Looking for more MMGM? Check out these links:
  • Joanne Fritz @ My Brain on Books 
  • Shannon Messenger @ Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe
  • Shannon O'Donnell @ Book Dreaming 
  • Sherrie Petersen @ Write About Now
  • Brooke Favero @ Somewhere in the Middle
  • Myrna Foster @ Night Writer
  • Ally Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy
  • Barbara Watson @ Novel and Nouveau
  • Deb Marshall @ Just Deb!
  • Anita Laydon Miller's Middle Grade Blog
  • Michael G-G @ Middle Grade Mafioso
  • Natalie Aguirre @ Literary Rambles
  • Ms. Yingling @ Ms. Yingling Reads
  • Jennifer Rumberger
  • Pam Torres @ So I'm Fifty
  • Mary @ Writer's Butt Does Not Apply to Me
  • The Accidental Novelist
  • G.S. Prendergast @ Angelhorn
  • Gina Carey
  • Nye Louwen - My Spirit 


    1. Well that certainly sounds entertaining! Haha :D

    2. I haven't heard of Neil Flambe before, but these sound like very fun MG mysteries!

    3. I went and looked up the first book in the series at my library. This sounds like something I would definitely enjoy. Thanks for the feature :)

    4. I hadn't heard of these either! I'm always on the look out for some good Aztec MG/YA. Thanks for the reccomend!

    5. I love anything that mixes history into a story. Thanks for featuring this one.

    6. Thanks for this, it looks great, like something my kids would love. They like that mix of history and humour.

    7. I _must_ read this..and the first! Thanks for taking the time to feature it for us, Andrea.


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