The best mysteries can only be solved with your best friends. The perfect summer read for fans of Stuart Gibbs.
Paul Marconi has always thought that Bellwood was a strange town, but also a boring one. Not much for an eleven-year-old to do. Fires are burning nearby, Paul's parents are obsessed with winning a bratwurst contest, and his best friend, one of the founding members of their only-child detective club, the One and Onlys, is about to acquire a younger sister, sort of undoing their whole reason for existing. But then! Hundreds of rubber duckies have appeared on the lawn of poor Mr. Babbage without any explanation. Finally! There is something that Paul and his friends can actually investigate.
In the face of all these bizarre occurrences, Paul is convinced that uncovering who deposited the duckies will finally bring some sense to what has become an upside-down world. Soon the three friends have a long list of suspects, all with their own motives, but no clear culprit. When everything comes to a head at the town's annual Bellwood Bratwurst Bonanza, Paul discovers that some things don't have an easy explanation and not every mystery can be solved.
A perfect summer story about friends, amateur sleuthing, and a whole lot of rubber duckies.
“The perfect mix of hilarious and heartwarming—kids won’t be able to get enough of Paul and his friends’ Bellwood adventures.”—Elsie Chapman, author of All the Ways Home
"Delightful fun for budding mystery fans."--Kirkus
"A diverting mystery with clever misdirection that will keep readers guessing until the end."--The Bulletin
"The quirkiness of the premise and the light, punny humor give the narrative its momentum."--Booklist
"The One and Onlys seem primed to become a popular trio among readers who enjoy an old-fashioned whodunit."--Publishers Weekly
Paul Marconi, 11, loves to solve mysteries with his best friends, Shanks and Peephole, aka the "One and Onlys." All only children, they are the perfect team of sleuths: level-headed Paul "sniffed out the mysteries," fearless Shanks takes risks, and anxious Peephole's photographic memory documents crime scenes. Their sleepy community is preparing for its annual bratwurst cook-off, despite a wildfire burning beyond the town. When hundreds of rubber duckies mysteriously appear on the front lawn of Mr. Babbage, five-time bratwurst champion, the One and Onlys want to know who put them there. But Officer Portnoy won't let them near the evidence, Peephole is worried about the imminent birth of a sibling, and the whole town is preoccupied with the competition. Cornett caters nicely to his audience with amusing scenes one suspect serenades the duckies with a tuba and caricature, as with Portnoy, a classically clueless cop. The mystery slowly unspools with well-placed clues and red herrings, while subplots, such as the arrival of an ominous new megastore, lend depth to the lighthearted mystery. With the hint of more to come, the One and Onlys seem primed to become a popular trio among readers who enjoy an old-fashioned whodunit. Ages 8 12.