Genre: middle grade mystery
Length: 376 pages
Setting: Greenglass House in Nagspeake (which felt like a New England town), present day-ish
Summary: Short version: We find out why everyone came to Greenglass House
Long version: It’s Christmas break and Milo is prepared to spend it quietly with his family. Too bad a bunch of people show up to stay at Greenglass House, the inn his parents run. It seems that they’re all there for ulterior motives. Milo makes friends with Meddy, a young girl who also arrives. They decide to play Odd Trails (a Dungeons and Dragons-type game) and come up with characters to investigate the quests. Milo decides to be a blackjack. He convinces everyone to tell a story in the evenings. Those stories are clues into why the people have come. Mrs. Hereward is searching for a bit of family history. Clem and Georgie are trying to find out some history about a boy they both like. Dr. Gowervine is searching for a piece of art by the famous glass artist Skellansen. Mr. Vinge was an undercover customs agent looking for the final cargo of the smuggler, Doc Holystone. Vinge was convinced it was a weapon, but it was just a toy for his daughter.
Final thoughts: This turned out to be a most excellent book. I loved all the stories in the book – from the book Milo was reading to the stories the inhabitants of Greenglass House told each other at night. They ranged from fairy tales to the history of Nagspeake. I also loved all the color words that were used in the book to describe the stained glass windows found at Greenglass House. They definitely set the scene beautifully.
The book almost moved into the territory of a “where are the adults” book because Milo and Meddy do all the of the sleuthing and are instrumental in discovering why everyone has come to Greenglass House. However, his parents are busy running the inn that is unexpectedly full of guests, so it makes sense. Milo, on the other hand, is on Christmas break and needs something to do.
There were many interesting parts to the story. I’ll only touch on a few. One of those interesting threads surrounds Milo’s adoption. He’s Asian and his parents aren’t, so he regularly wonders about his birth family. Then he feels guilty because he loves his adopted parents and feels like his thoughts are being unfaithful to them. Milo also has anxiety when his routine is disrupted. His parents know he won’t be happy with all the guests at the inn during Christmas break, but there’s nothing they can do about it. At least he has Meddy to keep him occupied.
I had thought that everyone coming to Greenglass House was connected and looking for the same thing. We find out halfway through the book that’s not the case. It felt like the story was over, but we still had a 100 pages to go. That was when the book moved from good to excellent. We still had to wrap up Mr. Vinge’s story and he wasn’t as pleasant about his searching. We also discover Meddy’s story – turns out she’s a ghost and the daughter of Doc Holystone. That’s why she was an invisible help to Milo. I had to rethink all her interactions up to that point and it explained so much.
Title comes from: The name of the inn that was the setting for the book. It got its name from its stained glass windows
Awards won: The Edgar Award for best Juvenile Mystery in 2015
Reading challenges fulfilled: book #38 for 2019, and a G in my Title Alphabet Reading Challenge
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