Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Moses Lobo's life began during a hurricane, wrapped up in a blanket and sent downstream on a billboard. By age 11 she's known as Mo LoBeau and the "daughter" of Miss Lana and the Colonel - an inquisitive, straight A student looking for her Upstream Mother. Both she and the Colonel are new to the town of Tupelo Landing yet they've been (mostly) accepted by the town and considered part of the family.
One day a Detective from Winston-Salem appears, and shortly thereafter Mr Jesse is found murdered. Coincidence? The fact that the Colonel has also disappeared and that her best friend Dale (Earnhart Johnson III) is under suspicion leads Mo to start investigating, a search that gets even more frantic when Miss Lana is taken hostage.
Mo is funnier than Theodore Boone, although they both have a lack of cell phones and computers in common. That lack is explained here by the town being poor and in a cell phone dead spot, and unlike the Boone books doesn't feel contrived. The townspeople are quirky in a very real way, and the picnic on Miss Rose's lawn is a delightful set piece. I hope this isn't the last we've seen of Mo and Dale!
ARC provided by publisher.