We have a super fun guest post in store for you from Emily Ecton, author of the newly released middle grade caper The Ambrose Deception. Today, Emily is talking about … TREASURE HUNTS, and the books that got her hooked on them. Be sure to keep reading to learn more about The Ambrose Deception and enter for your chance to win a copy.
Four Books That Got Me Hooked on Treasure Hunts
by Emily Ecton
When I was a kid, a book came out that offered the chance to solve a real life treasure hunt. It was a picture book by Kit Williams called Masquerade, and according to Williams, the pictures in the book held clues that led to a jeweled golden hare that he had hidden somewhere in Great Britain. Like many people, I pored over the pictures in that book, hoping to find the secret that would lead to a hidden treasure. (Not that I ever had much hope. I was a kid, for one thing, without much access to transportation. And I didn’t live in Great Britain.)
But no matter how much I stared at the pictures, I never unraveled the clues hidden in Masquerade. I don’t think I even identified a single one.
The fictional treasure hunts I read about in other books were much more satisfying.
My favorite treasure hunt mystery is probably The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. The book is perfect from the very beginning, as you meet the characters and try to figure out which one of them is “the mistake” mentioned in the opening. It’s filled with quirky characters, unlikely friendships and funny situations that make it satisfying and unforgettable. Ellen Raskin’s other books were also terrific, and filled with more puzzles to solve.
Another treasure hunt mystery I loved was The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn by John Bellairs. He’s much more known for The House With the Clock In Its Walls (which is also terrific) but I loved reading about Anthony Monday and the ten dollar gold piece that he finds. That lucky token that is the first clue leading to a treasure hidden in his small town by an eccentric millionaire. (I wanted a ten dollar gold piece so much after reading that book. Then I looked to see how much they cost. Not ten dollars, that’s for sure.)
Elizabeth Enright’s book A Spiderweb For Two: A Melendy Mystery is another clue based mystery that I loved growing up. In this book, Randy and Oliver Melendy are upset to be left behind while their siblings go away for the summer, but they soon discover that someone has left them a mysterious trail of clues to follow . It doesn’t lead to a traditional treasure, but the ending is very satisfying and a wonderful conclusion to the Melendy series.
As for the treasure in Masquerade, I don’t feel bad for never solving the clues hidden in the pictures. In the end, the Masquerade hare was found by someone with inside information, not by someone who solved the clues.
Still, it left me with the hope that there would be more treasure hunts to look forward to, even if I had to make them up myself.
Melissa is a nobody. Wilf is a slacker. Bondi is a show-off. At least that’s what their middle school teachers think. To everyone’s surprise, they are the three students chosen to compete for a ten thousand-dollar scholarship, solving clues that lead them to various locations around Chicago. At first the three contestants work independently, but it doesn’t take long before each begins to wonder whether the competition is a sham. It’s only by secretly joining forces and using their unique talents that the trio is able to uncover the truth behind the Ambrose Deception–a truth that involves a lot more than just a scholarship.
With a narrative style as varied and intriguing as the mystery itself, this adventure involving clever clues, plenty of perks, and abhorrent adults is pure wish fulfillment.
Emily Ecton is a writer and producer for Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, the NPR news quiz. She has also been a playwright, a chinchilla wrangler, an ice cream scooper and a costume character. She lives in Chicago with her dog, Binky.
Ends on February 27th at Midnight EST!
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- 2/15/2018- BookHounds YA– Review
- 2/16/2018- YA Books Central– Interview